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Leicester City Dominate PFA Player Of The Year Shortlist

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City (r) holds back Jamie Vardy of Leicester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield on December 26, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

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.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 14:  Ngolo Kante of Leicester City is chased by Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Newcastle United at The King Power Stadium on March 14, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

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.

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.

The awards are to be handed out on Sunday, April 24th.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.