As the season draws to a close, everybody has one eye on the illustrious PFA award ceremony.
Players who started the season no older than 23 will all want to claim the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
So here's a look at five of the top contenders for the prize:
Romelu Lukaku | West Bromwich Albion
Nothing creates headlines quite like goals, and Lukaku has made a lot of headlines. In the summer, he decided to temporarily leave Chelsea in order to get first team football. West Brom are the fortunate club who snapped the big Belgian up. Lukaku has been crucial to Albion’s successful season, he has 13 league goals to his name already this season.
He has reinvented the traditional ‘target man’ stereotype through his quick feet and relentless work ethic. At only 19-years-old, Lukaku seems destined for success at parent club Chelsea. My advice to West Brom fans would be to enjoy him while you can.
Luke Shaw | Southampton
There’s probably only one other left back in the country people are talking about more than Luke Shaw and that’s Leighton Baines. Only 17-years-old Shaw’s career has taken flight rapidly in the Saint’s bid for safety.
He has started 17 games for Southampton this season and is inevitably drawing comparisons with Southampton academy graduate and former left-back Gareth Bale. Shaw is just as willing to join his team-mates in attack as he is to defend by using his pace and crossing ability to good effect.
I can see Shaw playing regular Premier League football next season, whoever that may be with, and for many years to come.
Ben Davies | Swansea
The second teenage left-back on the list is Swansea’s Ben Davies. He was handed his chance this term following Neil Taylor’s long term injury and Davies has never looked back.
He is Swansea’s youngest ever Premier League scorer (I know it’s only their second season but it’s still a fact) following his strike against Stoke City on January 19th 2013. Davies also played 84 minutes as part of the Swansea team who beat Bradford 5-0 in the Capital One Cup final.
Matija Nastasic | Manchester City
Despite having the best defensive record in the league, Roberto Mancini splashed out on the Fiorentina youngster. Even though it looks like a certainty that Manchester City will relinquish their title to Manchester United, Nastasic has exceeded all expectations at the back. He is keeping £24 million man Joleon Lescott out of the team and only Vicent Kompany has started more games at centre back than Nastasic.
The powerful, athletic centre half looks certain to be a Manchester City regular for years to come. With Vicent Kompany alongside him Nastasic’s game will improve vastly, especially considering he’s only 19-years-old.
Christian Benteke | Aston Villa
Another young Belgian striker that’s taken the Premier League by storm is Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke. Let’s be honest, Aston Villa haven’t had too much to cheer about this season, but £7 million hit-man Benteke has lit up Villa Park. Benteke has scored 13 league goals and 17 in all competitions.
His job is to fire Villa to safety, and in recent weeks has scored some crucial goals. Important strikes against Reading and QPR have seen Villa climb out of the relegation zone. Benteke looks certain to be playing Premier League football next season, even if Aston Villa go down.
Do you agree with the five nominees? Who do you think should win the coveted award? Tell us in the comments below!
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