Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s battling performances at right-back for Crystal Palace have earned the 21-year-old plaudits and admirers all over Europe, although his displays have always been deemed not quite enough when it comes to recognition from the likes of Gareth Southgate’s England and now the PFA.
The defender narrowly missed out on a call-up to the last senior Three Lions squad, with Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold named instead, and now the latter has returned to take some shine off of Wan-Bissaka’s stellar season once again.
The Liverpool man has had a fantastic campaign, make no mistake, but his inclusion in the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award means there is no room for the Eagles’ tackling king. The omission has raised eyebrows but none are more bemused than Alan Shearer, who went so far as to claim Wan-Bissaka should actually be picking up this season’s award (BBC‘s The Premier League Show via Football London):
“I think his improvement has been incredible. I think that the pressure a young player is under is hard enough anyway, but to go into a team and stand out when, for a lot of this season he has been playing in a relegation battle; when you put all of that together, for him to be the standout player in that team, and what they have had to go through, and for him to keep getting better and better, and offer so much to that team, I think he deserves it. I think he has been absolutely magnificent.”
High praise indeed from the BBC pundit and comments that should somewhat ease any frustration regarding the controversial omission on Wan-Bissaka’s part.
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It seems unlikely that the number 29 will be bothered by his overlooking, though, and will continue to operate with outstanding consistency in the shadow of those performing arguably at a lower standard but for a top six club.