Premier League Player of the Month award: The 16 most surprising winners

  • Rob Swan

Many of the Premier League greats have managed to win the league’s Player of the Month award at some point during their careers.

Three players have won it a record six times: Sergio Aguero, Steven Gerrard and Harry Kane.

Then you have the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney (five times each), followed by Dennis Bergkamp, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and Alan Shearer who all went the individual accolade four times.

Some great players never managed to land their hands in the award, including Didier Drogba, Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure.

But there are some rather unexpected names who have managed to win at least one Premier League Player of the Month award since the accolade was introduced back in 1994…

Alex Manninger | March 1998

David Seaman was Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper in the 1990s and early-2000s but Alex Manninger stepped in when the England international was injured during the 1997/98 campaign and kept six consecutive clean sheets – a joint club record.

Marcus Bent | January 2002

Ipswich Town were relegated at the end of the 2001/02 campaign but Marcus Bent still managed to pick up the Player of the Month award in January – sandwiched in between Ruud van Nistelrooy, who won the award in December 2001 and February 2002 – after scoring five goals in four games for the Tractor Boys.

Edu | February 2004

Edu wasn’t the most talented of Arsenal’s legendary ’Invincibles’ side but he was an important player nonetheless.

And in February 2004, the Brazilian midfielder shared the Premier League Player of the Month award with teammate Dennis Bergkamp.

That Vieira never won the award during his time at Arsenal makes Edu’s prize all the more surprising looking back at it now.

Anton Ferdinand | January 2006

Vincent Kompany never managed to win a Premier League Player of the Month award but Anton Ferdinand did. How mad is that?

It was also reported at the time that Anton, who was 20 at the time, was on the radar of Barcelona(!).

Kevin Nolan | February 2006

Kevin Nolan was a decent goalscoring midfielder at his peak but it’s still a little surprising to see his name followed by Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs.

The midfielder helped Bolton secure an eighth-place finish in the Premier League table in 2006.

Ashley Young | April 2008, Sept 2008, Dec 2008

Look at the Player of the Month award winners for 2008 and you could be forgiven for thinking Ashley Young must have been playing like Lionel Messi that year.

The veteran winger, who has taken a lot of stick in recent years at Manchester United, has won the Player of the Month award more times than the likes of Giggs, Robbie Fowler, Roy Keane and Eden Hazard thanks to his hat-trick while playing for Aston Villa.

Johan Elmander | November 2010

Johan Elmander scored 18 goals in 92 Premier League appearances with Bolton but still managed to win a Player of the Month award in 2010 after netting three goals for the Trotters.

Competition for the award must have been non-existent that month.

Peter Odemwingie | Sept 2010, April 2011, Feb 2012

Yes, Peter Odemwingie really did win the Premier League Player of the Month award three times during his spell with West Brom. Now that’s impressive.

The likes of Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres only managed to win it twice during their spells in England.

Nikica Jelavic | April 2012

Nikica Jelavic wasn’t exactly prolific at Everton. The Croatian bagged 16 goals in 59 league games for the Toffees, including six in three matches in April 2012.

Now 34, Jelavic currently plies his trade with Guizhou Hengfeng in the second tier of Chinese football.

Steven Fletcher | September 2012

Steven Fletcher wasn’t a bad striker in the Premier League but it was still unexpected to see his name among various legends to win the Player of the Month award.

The Scotland international received the accolade after scoring five goals in four September matches.

Adam Le Fondre | January 2013

Adam Le Fondre’s Player of the Month award for January 2013 was made all the more remarkable by the fact he didn’t even start a game for Reading that month.

Despite playing just 85 minutes, the striker scored five goals including braces against Chelsea and Newcastle United.

Tim Krul | November 2013

Goalkeepers who never won a Premier League Player of the Month award: Peter Schmeichel and David de Gea.

Goalkeepers who won a Premier League Player of the Month award: Tim Krul.

Adam Johnson | January 2014

Er, yeah. The less said about Adam Johnson’s activities in recent years the better.

Connor Wickham | April 2014

Connor Wickham has failed to fulfil his potential, you could argue, but he did win a Premier League Player of the Month award in April 2014 after scoring five goals in four games for Sunderland.

Diafra Sakho | October 2014

It was a West Ham double in October 2014 as Sam Allardyce and Diafra Sakho won the Manager and Player of the Month awards, respectively.

The Hammers won all three of their games that month, with Sakho netting in every fixture.

Fraser Forster | February 2016

Fraser Forster became only the sixth Southampton player to win a Premier League Player of the Month award in February 2016 – and one of only a handful of goalkeepers – after keeping clean sheets against Arsenal, West Ham and Swansea City.

Most of the winners have all been household names since 2016, with the exception of Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki, who won the award in August of this season following a breathtaking start to the 2019/20 campaign.

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