Following on from my PFA player of the Year award list I’ve decided to conduct a list of five candidates who are under the required 23 years of age and eligible for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Whilst not always as eye catching as the main award it’s more often than not harder to call – here are my five.
1. Alex Song – Probably the frontrunner for the award, the 22 year old central midfielder has done a great job of screening in front of the Arsenal back four this term. Adding a little bite to a lightweight midfield it’s not just Song’s tackling ability which has seen him win over many fans this year, he’s an adept passer of the ball too. His positional sense looks suspect at present against the very best but discipline will come with age and experience and whilst not the dominating force of a Vieira in his heyday, few are, he is one to keep an eye on for the future.
2. Scott Dann – The other half of the much vaunted centre half partnership at Birmingham alongside Richard Johnson, the 22 year old Dann has made the leap up from the Championship easily this season after his £4m move from Coventry in the summer. Tall, good in the air and with decent positional sense he’s been a mainstay in a Birmingham side that have confounded their critics and are achieving way above expected.
3. Joe Hart – A real success story of the season, Hart looked to be heading for a season on the bench at Man City as Shay Given’s understudy until Birmingham swooped in for the 22 year-old. After a string of impressive performances and with 9 clean sheets to his name he’s been touted as a future England no.1 and will probably find himself on the plane to South Africa for the World Cup this summer.
4. Marouane Fellaini – The Belgian is more often than not used to appearing in dirtiest player lists than for awards but the Skreech lookalike has been growing into his role at Everton even further this season. His performances whilst not carrying the same goal threat as last term only serve to highlight the slightly deeper role he’s playing for the Toffees this season. It’s reaping dividends as the tall midfielder has begun to dominate games from deep with his sharp range of passing, strength in the air and imposing frame and he’s been mooted for a summer move to league leaders Chelsea as a result.
5. Aaron Lennon – Amazingly still only 22 years of age, Lennon has been Spurs’ most creative player this season laying on 9 assists already and weighing in with 3 goals himself. He’s probably the league’s best right winger edging just ahead of Utd’s Antonio Valencia and will start on the right for England at this summer’s World Cup where his lively play and pace could worry even the tournaments best left backs.
Honourable mentions – Johnny Evans, Lee Cattermole, Jordan Henderson, Ryan Shawcross, Kevin Prince Boateng, Fabio, Jack Collison, Jack Rodwell, David N’Gog and Gabby Agbonlahor
Who would make your list?
Written By James McManus