The nominations for the PFA’s Player of the Year award have caused a bit of stir this week. I meant to write something about it when it was first published but work commitments rather got in the way.
The number of Manchester United players on the list got some attention, but I think that’s mostly explained by the fact that the voting takes place in January/February time when Fergie’s side were blowing everybody away. That being said I do wonder about the inclusion of Ryan Giggs. He’s been one of the best British talents of the last 15 years and has had a good season but I’m not sure if it was worthy of nomination in this category.
Who would I select as an alternative? You could make a case for Frank Lampard, though I don’t think it would be all that popular on these pages. Although he might not be everybody’s cup of tea, there should be some recognition of what Kevin Davies has done this season. He’s been outstanding for Bolton and must have been close to an England call-up too when all of Fabio’s forwards went down with injuries.
Given how well Aston Villa have done this year, you could have put in at least three players from Villa Park. Gareth Barry’s done well in midfield, but he’s arguably been upstaged by the impressive young pair of Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young. There should be more than a mention for Phil Jagielka, too, who has been brilliant for Everton this year.
Some of the pundits, including one I’ve little time for, thought that Brede Hangeland should have been on the shortlist. They’d have no argument from me as the big centre half has been excellent for us and is one of the main reasons why our defence has been so solid this year. The unsung Aaron Hughes alongside him has been very strong too, while Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey have been equally deserving of praise. Getting plenty on the shortlist would surely have been asking too much but one would’ve been nice!