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Jamie Carragher picks his frontrunner for PFA Player of the Year award

Carragher

It’s hard to argue with his choice.

Jamie Carragher has opted for a defender for his choice for PFA Player of the Year, even though there have been several standout attacking players in the Premier League this season.

Mohamed Salah leads the way in the Golden Boot race, although the Liverpool forward is being tracked by Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Bruno Fernandes.

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has enjoyed an excellent season. So, too, has Leeds striker Patrick Bamford, who has scored 11 goals to silence any doubts over his top-flight prowess.

Grealish

Jamie Carragher: Reuben Dias is my player of the year.

Carragher, however, has been most impressed by a player who operates at the opposite end of the pitch.

Writing in his column for The Telegraph, the former Liverpool defender has picked Manchester City’s Ruben Dias as the frontrunner for the PFA Player of the Year award.

Signed from Benfica for a reported £61m in September, Dias has been imperious at the back for City and has played a key role in propelling Pep Guardiola’s side to the Premier League’s summit.

Dias impact at City.

The 23-year-old Portuguese centre-back has started all but two of City’s league games this season and has excelled alongside both Aymeric Laporte and a resurgent John Stones.

Dias has built the foundation upon which City have thrived this season. Last year, they struggled to keep up with runaway champions Liverpool after failing to find a replacement for Vincent Kompany.

But Dias has certainly fixed that. He is a major reason for City having conceded just 13 goals this season.

“Good centre-backs can make everyone around them look better,” wrote Carragher.

“Just as there was a period when it did not seem to matter who Jurgen Klopp played alongside [Virgil] Van Dijk, Guardiola now has the same luxury with Dias.”

Carragher also likened Dias to himself, saying that he has been impressed by the defender’s vocal presence in the City defence this term.

“Every defence needs a vocal presence like Dias,” added Carragher.

Carragher

Jamie Carragher likens Dias to Van Dijk.

“I was one. I used to speak so much to help myself as much as those around me. I felt it enabled me to stay focused, talking my way through a game, making sure I never strolled through or lost sight about where I or those around me should be.

“I always felt that asset made up for my lacking other attributes, such as lack of height and pace. The saying about ‘playing the first yard in your head’ has become a cliche with good reason.

“The best way to avoid having to make up ground against an opponent is to always be in the right place. Dias has that about him.”

Guardiola recently compared Dias’ impact at City to that of Van Dijk at Liverpool with the Dutchman chiefly responsible for transforming the Reds defence into a league-winning unit.

Guardiola on Dias.

“Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely,” Guardiola said earlier this week.

“So far, how he’s settled immediately, in terms of mentality and he’s a guy who lives 24 hours for his profession.

“Every step he does, at home, on or off the pitch, eating, sleeping, recovering time, preparation time, everything is to be perfect during this 95-minute football game.

“That’s why. It depends on him to maintain and hopefully, we can help him to grow. We are more than satisfied.”

Dias and City will look to make it 14 wins in a row in all competitions when they travel to Carragher’s old side Liverpool on Sunday.

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