The Premier League has seen many great names grace its pitches: Gianfranco Zola, David Ginola, Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer - to name a few.
These players were ultimately recognised for their talents and performances in arguably the toughest football league in the world. This year’s ‘Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) Player of the Year shortlist comprises of some great talents but clearly misses a few deserving names.
The nominees for this season are: Robin van Persie, Luiz Suarez, Juan Mata, Gareth Bale, Michael Carrick and Eden Hazard. These players have all excelled this season, there is no doubt about that, but there are two names on this list that may surprise people.
Michael Carrick has often been a shining light in Manchester United’s midfield when they’ve been lacking a true leader in the middle of the park. This season United have been in unerring form that has seen their competition decimated in the race for the Premiership crown. Carrick’s performances have been consistent and he has often been influential in matches for the champions elect.
While Carrick’s inclusion may have been a surprise he seems like a deserving candidate - whereas Hazard’s honour on the shortlist appears baffling. The Belgian international is a fantastic talent and his performances at times - particularly against West Ham at Stamford Bridge - have been mesmerising.
Hazard has, however, been inconsistent with his performances and while a place on the Young Player of the Year award seems just, his inclusion for the full award may be unfair on other top talents.
Michu has been a revelation for Swansea this season. The loss of their manager, Brendan Rogers, along with keys players such as Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair, Swansea looked as though they could struggle this season but they haven’t. Instead - thanks mainly to 21 goals from Michu - the Swans have won the Capital One Cup and sit comfortably in the top half of the league table.
Michu’s £2.2 million price tag looks like a real bargain for the Welsh side and his exclusion from the PFA shortlist seems surprising - especially considering he is the equal third highest goal scorer in the Premier League.
Spanish compatriot of Michu, Santi Cazorla, has been another summer arrival that's been an instant sensation. Cazorla has managed to notch 12 league goals for the Gunners and is one player whose outstanding performances have kept Arsenal within a good position of a top four finish.
Arsene Wenger, in the last few seasons, has bought expensive players that haven’t lived up to their price-tag but Cazorla’s excellence this season means that he has definitely been worth his £15 million fee.
On Merseyside it’s not unusual for an England international to put in stellar performances week in week out; however it is rather remarkable for it not to Steven Gerrard.
This year Leighton Baines has been in sensational form and has helped see Everton challenging for a European place in the league. The ex-Wigan star appears to have toppled Ashley Cole as England’s left back and has had an impressive season bagging five league goals - most notably a thunderous strike against Newcastle.
The PFA Player of the Year award is very prestigious but with only six spaces for nominees there are always going to be some left out. While players such as Michu haven't been nominated for this award they have still had brilliant seasons and deserve recognition.
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