The PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year nominations were announced today, and as usual there have been a number of contentious inclusions and questions of big team bias.
The presence of Manchester United's Michael Carrick and Chelsea’s Belgian youngster Eden Hazard have been met with scepticism by a large number of football fans, while United’s one-goal wonder Danny Welbeck’s place on the list has sparked outrage.
While Carrick and Hazard have both undoubtedly had good seasons, it seems strange for them to be nominated for the league’s top individual prize in place of other top performers.
Swansea hit man Michu seems to be the biggest surprise omission, with many feeling he earned his place on the list with a staggering haul of 17 goals while helping his side to a Capital One Cup victory and a likely top-half finish in his debut season.
You could also make a case for either of Everton’s Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, who have both enjoyed superb campaigns.
While Carrick has been a measured presence in the middle of the park he rarely wins matches for his side like some of the names above have, and while Hazard made a spectacular start in his debut season, there are times where he has been anonymous.
Danny Welbeck’s nomination for the Young Player of the Year meanwhile must be the result of some kind of in-joke at the PFA.
He has managed one solitary goal in 12 starts for Fergie’s side, and while strikers shouldn’t be judged solely on their goal count, he’s hardly been a dominant force in the games I’ve seen.
The England international is frequently barged off the ball by defenders, and often his defensive contribution outweighs his attacking influence.
The most obvious replacement for Welbeck would be Manchester City’s Matija Nastasic. The Serbian has slotted into City’s backline incredibly well and delivered solid performances to keep the higher-profile Joleon Lescott out of the team.
Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez has also arguably had a better season than Welbeck, contributing six goals and five assists, while his counterpart Luke Shaw looks a star in the making.
Even Aston Villa pair Matthew Lowton and Andreas Weimann are more deserving than the United man, and have both been bright sparks in a miserable campaign for Paul Lambert’s side.
There seems to be a big-team bias when selecting these shortlists, and you have to wonder if players like Welbeck and Hazard would even been considered were they playing for the Swansea’s or Southampton’s of the league.
It’s time to open up to top prize to the players that deserve it most, not just the ones in with a sniff of a winners’ medal.
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