In news that will surprise absolutely nobody, there is a very strong Leicester City presence in this season’s PFA Player of the Year list of nominees.
Eden Hazard won the award in 2015, but his insipid form this year meant he was never going to have a chance to reatain his honour. In fact, none of Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City or Liverpool are represented.
Trio Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez N’Golo Kanté are all included as recognition for their role in Leicester’s remarkable charge towards the Premier League title.
Vardy has scored 21 goals in 33 Premier League games – including a record-breaking eleven game scoring streak – while Mahrez has contributed 16 goals and 11 assists and is, as of now, the strong favourite to take home the award.
Kanté, meanwhile, has seen his reputation skyrocket in his first season in England, following a £5.6m move from Caen last summer. He is now expected to be included in Didier Deschamps’ France squad for the forthcoming European Championships.
Of the non-Leicester contingent, Harry Kane will probably be Mahrez’s strongest rival for the award. The 22 year old has scored 22 goals this season, and after a relatively slow start has reinforced his status as England’s best striker right now.
West Ham’s Dimitri Payet is another who is having a blistering first season in English football. The 29 year old has been vital in his side’s push for a top four finish.
The final nominee for the award is Arsenal playmaker Mesut Özil. If this award was handed out at Christmas then the German international would have been odds-on favourite, but as the assists have dried up in recent months – coinciding with Arsenal’s stuttering form – his place among this shortlist is looking the least secure.
— PFA (@PFA) April 13, 2016
The PFA Young Player of the Year shortlist was also announced today.
Harry Kane is also included in this category, and having won the award last year he will be looking to pick up both awards this time, just as Gareth Bale did in 2013.
As of right now, however, the favourite for the young player award is Kane’s Tottenham teammate Dele Alli. The midfielder, who just recently turned 20, has become one of Spurs’ most important players as they too look to end the season by being crowned Premier League champions. Last year at MK Dons he won the League One Young Player award – that he is likely to win the Premier League version just 12 months later is little short of remarkable.
Aside from Kane, standing in Alli’s way are the Everton duo of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland, and Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho.
— PFA (@PFA) April 13, 2016
The awards are to be handed out on Sunday, April 24th.
Read More About: Arsenal, dele alli, dimitri payet, everton, harry kane, Jack Butland, jamie vardy, leicester, Liverpool, mesut ozil, N'Golo Kante, philippe coutinho, Riyad Mahrez, romelu lukaku, ross barkley, stoke, Top Story, tottenham, West Ham