With the PFA Player’s Player and Young player of the Year award nominations finally being released, I seriously question the thought process behind both of them.
Nominated for the Player of the Year award are the following – Wayne Rooney (shoe-in), Didier Drogba, Cesc Fabregas and Carlos Tevez. In my best Oscar style voice, let’s take a look at the nominees.
Rooney has been an absolute colossus this season; his phenomenal form has brought him 34 goals and he looks a certainty for the award. His form prior to December was patchy at times and was mixed in with some outstanding performances, but over the last three months or so his form has been ridiculously good and I think the whole country blew a collective sigh of relief when news filtered through that his ankle injury wasn’t as bad a first feared and he remains the strong favourite.
It’s been a season for the strikers this term with Didier Drogba, whilst hardly missed at all when on African Cup of Nations Duty for his native Ivory Coast by his club Chelsea, has scored a hugely impressive 25 league goals in 28 appearances, just one less than Rooney. The fact Rooney is English means a lot more attention has been drawn to his goalscoring streak than Drogba’s, and although Drogba’s form has been impressively evenly spread throughout the campaign, his performances haven’t caught the eye quite as much as Rooney’s.
Tevez has been a revelation at Man City, and has surprised even his biggest fans with his prolific form which has seen an excellent return of 22 league goals in 30 games, and a streak which has seen him bag 19 in his last 18 league games. If City make it to the promised land of the Champions League this term, the reported £47m they forked out for his services will be worth every penny, but for the award he’s probably an outsider.
Cesc Fabregas is probably the nearest challenger to Rooney for the award, if there is even one at all, and whilst his statistics may have come in spurts much like Jermaine Defoe’s goals at Spurs, his form has been key to Arsenal this year and he’s really grown into the captaincy role as the side’s mental strength grows by the season. 15 goals and 15 assists in the league in his 27 league appearances to date is quite simply breathtaking form.
Whilst this is a fine list outright and all the nominees are richly deserving, I do rather question why it has just been limited to four players this season.
Surely the bog standard five could have potentially seen a wild card included. Richard Dunne at Villa, Darren Bent’s goals, Patrice Evra’s barnstorming form and even new boy Thomas Vermaelen could all be worth a mention, plus many others.
I don’t want to buy into the idea that footballer’s are stupid, because that is a lazy cliché, but they vote for this award and as per usual, there is no representation of the defensive arts or someone who has aided their team’s style of play with something else other than goals or assists.
Luka Modric is pivotal to Spurs play and they missed his guile terribly when he was out, Lennon most of all, but when awards season rolls around, there’s rarely any recognition for these types of players. Same goes for Kevin Doyle who without him up front all year, Wolves would have seriously struggled to maintain their top flight status.
The fact that there are only four nominations tells me that these four were far and away the favourites in terms of votes and that between the other players nominated, because the votes were spread so thinly, they simply couldn’t decipher who was deserving of the fifth spot which to my mind seems like a botched up way of going about things.
The PFA Young Player’s Award also throws up some interesting questions. Rooney and Fabregas again dominate the award with Joe Hart rightfully awarded a place on the list as is James Milner. This list too is confined to just four and with two of the players here the favourites for the main award, I question the point of putting them in for both.
Personally I’d love to see Joe Hart given it out of the four nominated, for whilst Milner’s form has been impressive, at 24 years of age, he can hardly be considered young anymore and if there was an award for ‘Most Improved Player’ like there is at every awards evening around the country, Milner would probably take that one, s small consolation at least.
The award should be about tomorrow’s star, not today’s and whilst it is obviously great that some have done so well so young, there should be a clear definition between the awards and people shouldn’t be voted for both in my opinion. It robs some young players of the chance to win an individual award and when faced with competing with the likes of Rooney and Fabregas there will only be one winner in those sorts of contests.
There is a clear cut off point of 23 years of age, which explains Milner’s nomination because he was 23 at time of voting, but it should be done more on potential and relative standing in the game than on their age, for some players simply develop earlier than others, like the freaks of nature Rooney and Fabregas undoubtedly are.
Alex Song is unlucky to miss out, as are Scott Dann at Birmingham, Aaron Lennon, who if had stayed fit could have been a contender for the five man main shortlist if there’d been five names this season, and the likes of Johnny Evans whose coped admirably with Utd’s defensive frailties this term. Fellaini, Jordan Henderson, Rafael and Ryan Shawcross too are unfortunate.
There is a clear separation in terms of the awards given out and instead of just being a popularity contest, it should be about graduating from the young player award and striving to be included in the main one the season after. I simply don’t feel it does the award justice to have a world class player win the young player’s award and kind of defeats the point of the spirit of the award. The heart says Rooney and Hart, the head says Rooney and Milner out of those nominated.
What does everyone else think – predictable lists? Does anyone agree with my theory about the division in the awards?