On Sunday night, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) will announce its Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, as voted for by their fellow professionals. The shortlist was announced this afternoon to the usual mumblings of public discontent, but the England team is well represented.
And, as they say in the biz, the nominees are…
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), JOE HART (Manchester City), David Silva (Manchester City), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), WAYNE ROONEY (Manchester United), SCOTT PARKER (Tottenham Hotspur)
Congratulations to Rooney, Hart and England skipper Parker for their nominations. As always, the PFA awards are fundamentally stunted by their own voting process, which negate a huge chunk of the season. Silva, as good a player as he is, is a slightly surprising inclusion for me, but then I’m not a professional so my opinion genuinely doesn’t matter at all here. Having said that, Parker’s nomination will raise a few eyebrows. Call me a cynic, but it’s almost as if some of the pros have taken into account what the journalists told them with his Football Writers’ Player of the Year gong last year.
Still, it’s a solid list populated by excellent players. Aguero and Hart have put up big numbers for City during this campaign, as Rooney has for United. But for me it would be a shame if anybody other than Van Persie won this award. For vast spells this season he’s been unstoppable. I love RVP, by the way, so for me this one is a no-contest.
I’m sure there are many deserving players in teams who’ve done well outside the established order, but their fellow professionals rarely nominate players outside the spotlight in enough numbers to make the shortlist. Newcastle United and Swansea City supporters and players arguably have the most compelling cases here – their respective successes this season haven’t happened by accident. The absence of Clint Dempsey, the Fulham and United States talisman, is another indicator of the award’s basic flaw in timing. For me, he’s right up there this year.
The nominees for the Young Player of the Year Award are as follows:
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur), ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN (Arsenal), DANIEL STURRIDGE (Chelsea), KYLE WALKER (Tottenham Hotspur), DANNY WELBECK (Manchester United)
It’s great to see plenty of English players on this list, although it’s arguable that Big Club Syndrome has played too much of a part. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s inclusion is a bit of a joke and a tad insulting to the Premier League’s countless young players, many of whom have been more frequent contributors than the Arsenal winger. I believe Newcastle’s Tim Krul is eligible, for example, and Anthony Pilkington of Norwich City certainly is. Still, there’s not too much to grumble about because all of this is essentially completely pointless.
So, if Van Persie is my prediction for the senior award, who’s my tip for the youngsters? From that list it has to be Aguero, a wonderful player who’s come into English football and kicked it right in the gonads from the very beginning. A deserving winner for sure.
(Photo credit: Andrea Sartorati via Flickr)