Humble Jedinak brushes off 'best in Europe' tag

Midfield powerhouse Mile Jedinak salutes the Crystal Palace faithful. (Getty)

Australia captain Mile Jedinak has side-stepped any form of self-congratulation after being statistically acclaimed the fifth best player in Europe and the top midfielder on the continent.

The Socceroos' midfield rock was unaware of this week’s findings by sports data company Opta, which has only Primera Liga superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Montpellier’s Victorino Hilton ahead of him in terms of performances this season.

Using a complex scoring matrix, online fantasy football game Oulala has Jedinak ranked as the leading midfielder in Europe and the best-performed English Premier League player with 397 points - 77 more than his nearest rival, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

The Crystal Palace captain only heard of the accolade through a friend back in Australia and is more concerned with preparing for Tuesday’s (AEDT) clash with Sunderland at Selhurst Park.

"It’s nice to hear these things but people will compile different stats and take what they want from it," he said.

"For me, it's just about going out and trying to better myself with each game, rather than worrying too much about statistics."

Jedinak questioned the wisdom of extrapolating too much from statistics, explaining: "When you break things down into stats I don’t know if it's always the right way to look at things.

"Sure, it's becoming more prominent and rightly so in some ways, but the way I have been brought up it's about doing your utmost in different situations on the field.

"You might have a great game but your stats might not be so good. I am not saying it's irrelevant but it's not the whole story.

"It's great that people take notice and recognise me … but I never go out into a match thinking about trying to improve my stats."

The sixth best player in Europe last season according to Oulala, Jedinak has already netted three goals, bagged an assist, made 24 clearances, 34 tackles and 32 interceptions in an impressive start to the new campaign.

"I am certainly not getting too carried away by it," he added. "There is another game around the corner against Sunderland and that's all I am really concerned with.

"I am happy to accept it but really it's about hard work and doing the best for your team."

Jedinak was front and centre for Palace last weekend as it gave up a two-goal cushion to draw 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion.

The 30 year-old, whose tenacity and drive rubs off on his teammates, scored a penalty before conceding a late spot kick from which the Baggies equalised.

"I am just happy to contribute whenever I can, whether it's a goal or helping out in any which way," Jedinak said.

"Right now, though, I would much rather swap my goals for a few more points."

Palace lies 16th after nine games, just a point off the relegation places, and Jedinak is hoping the club can avoid a protracted battle to stay up.

"We are looking to gather a bit of momentum but right now not many teams are really on a run and the table is pretty congested," he said.

"We are only a win away from being in mid-table and it's still early days with the season only a quarter of the way through. We just want to get some consistency going, sooner rather than later."

Source: SBS