PFA Young Player of the Year

Following from my look at the PFA Player nominees, here is my look at the Young Player nominees! Now, shout outs this time though unfortunately!

Thibaut Courtois – Chelsea

At the age of 22 Courtois has managed to dislodge Chelsea’s former number one and in my opinion the best goalkeeper of the Premier League in Petr Cech. He is one of a handful of goalkeepers who are challenging Manuel Neuer as the world’s best and I feel that the Belgian is Neuer’s closest rival in terms of not just his ability, but also his potential.

Courtois came straight into the Chelsea team this season after several excellent seasons and showings on loan at Atletico Madrid where he made his name as one of the world’s most promising stoppers. Aside from his incredible shot-stopping ability and athleticism, Courtois’ mental ability and composure help put confidence into the back four in front of him, as well as his imposing 6″ 6 frame.

David De Gea – Manchester United

The first of four players who are on the Young Player of Year shortlist as well as the Player of the Year shortlist, as well as being the second goalkeeper on the list. To read my full inspection into De Gea’s inclusion then read my bit on him in the PotY shortlist review. The one part I will say here is the Spanish internationals performances this season are the only set which have not been consistently scapegoated by United fans, a testament to the amazing season De Gea has had, he is a lot of the reason why United occupy such a high spot in the table.

Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur

This seems to be the year where all the young players take over the Player of the Year category as well, with Harry Kane being the second on this shortlist to occupy a place in both lists and personally he is my favourite to pick up the Young Player award. Kane’s surge to prominence has been a shining light ins dull season for Tottenham who are battling for a Europa League spot as a much-coveted Champions League spot has fallen slightly out of their reach. The question on everyone’s lips will be if the 21-year-old can replicate his excellent form over the coming seasons.

Phillipe Coutinho – Liverpool

If people doubted that Coutinho deserved a place on the Player of the Year shortlist then. His inclusion in the Young Player of the Year shortlist can’t be in question. The Brazilian has been one of two Liverpool players who have been consistently excellent over the course of the season (Jordan Henderson being the other) and who can really hold their heads high despite overall team disappointment. Coutinho will be another hoping to kick-on next season and really make an impact in the Premier League and try and push his team if not to a title then a Champions League spot.

Raheem Sterling – Liverpool

Finally, another player who is only up for the Young Player of the Year award. After a blistering start to the campaign, carrying on his form from last season, Sterling needed to have a break and after the 20-year-old winger returned to action we saw much of the exciting play return with him and he was back to his best, interchanging with his team-mates as part of an exciting Liverpool attack.

Sterling has returned his best-ever goals tally so far of his career this season netting 11 so far. Despite contract talks stalling and wage demands becoming astronomical there is no doubt in my mind that Liverpool would prefer to keep Sterling, who if he can keep his feet on the ground will have an excellent career and Liverpool will want to come to some sort of compromise to keep the prospect.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

The Belgian is the last player on the list, he however is also up for both awards. He is my favourite and the bookies favourite to pick up the Player of the Year award with Spurs striker Kane being the favourite to pick up the Young Player award. But don’t be surprised after his best season so far in West London if Hazard picks up both gongs like Gareth Bale in 2012-13.

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PFA Young Player of the Year

So along with the PFA Player of the Year nominees, out came the Young Player nominees too. There’s a couple more I don’t agree with, Danny Welbeck for instance who so far has less league goals this season than Per Mertesacker. Jack Wilshere has also proved how important he is to Arsenal since his return but I don’t think he’s done enough to be nominated for this award, but anyway, let’s get started.

Christian Benteke – Aston Villa

Since his £8million move in the summer, Benteke has become an integral part to Villa’s survival hopes and it’s hard to see him staying at the Villains whether they stay up or not.

Scoring 19 goals in 36 appearances so far this season has seen Benteke become somewhat of a hot property in the Premiership, especially mixing his goalscoring exploits with his phenomenal physical attributes.

He has been a problem for defences since he joined the Premiership and has courted interest from European football chasing clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.

BEST MOMENT: Being instrumental in Villa’s 3 – 1 win at Anfield over Liverpool, scoring two goals and assisting another.

Romelu Lukaku – West Brom

The giant Belgian striker joined Chelsea last season and was dubbed ‘the new Drogba’ which is quite a billing to live up to, but you can see why Lukaku has drawn comparisons to the Chelsea hero as his physical attributes are similar to that of the Ivorian.

He has spent this season on loan at West Brom and has proved to be an astute loan acquisition by Steve Clark, leading the Baggies’ front line admireably for a player of such a young age.

Lukaku has scored 13 goals in 45 appearances this season and is hotly tipped to have a bright future at Chelsea when he returns. The date of his return has not been set however, as he has revealed he would like to spend another season away from Stamford Bridge for more experience.

BEST MOMENT: Coming on as a 70th minute substitute, scoring a goal and assisting Marc-Antoine Fortune in West Brom’s 4 – 2 win over Sunderland in November.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea

This list of nominees just seems full of the Belgian team doesn’t it? Not for bad reason though as all of their young players seem to have taken the Premiership by storm this season.

Chelsea winger Hazard has been put up for both Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards and it seems he stands a better chance of winning the Young Player gong as the speedster looks to build on his impressive first season in English football.

In his first season, Hazard has scored 13 goals and notched up 18 assists in 57 games so far this season for Chelsea, as well as striking up an impressive trio alongside Chelsea’s other midfield stars Oscar and Juan Mata.

(SECOND) BEST MOMENT: Putting on a man of the match performance as Chelsea beat West Ham 2 – 0 at Stamford Bridge, scoring an impressive solo goal as well as assisting a Frank Lampard goal as well.

Gareth Bale – Tottenham

Another Young Player nominee who has been put up for the Player of the Year gong is Tottenham’s Welsh wizard Gareth Bale. His importance to Spurs has been highlighted this season as whenever he isn’t in the team, Tottenham don’t appear to flow as well as they do with him.

The Welshman has had to shoulder a lot more pressure this season with the departures of creative outlets in Rafael Van Der Vaart and Luka Modric, mixed with Spurs inability to sign a striker should have made it tough for them this year, but Bale has taken the pressure well and become one of the hottest properties in world football, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United reportedly interested.

Bale has scored 23 goals in 39 appearances so far this season and has shown his improvement as a player dramatically offensively after reverting to a more attacking position last season.

(SECOND) BEST MOMENT: Scoring Tottenham’s second goal in their 3 – 2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, their first win at Old Trafford since 1989.

Danny Welbeck – Manchester United

I’m not really sure I can justify this one, but I can certainly have a go.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like Welbeck as a footballer. But being a striker and only scoring one goal in the league, and two goals altogether all season is not nomination for PFA Young Player of the Year material.

Welbeck has proved to be a good back-up choice for Manchester United this season behind Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney and whenever he has played he has always given 100% and never moaned about his role at the club so his commitment can’t be questioned.

BEST MOMENT: Opening the scoring at the Bernabeu in Man United’s 1 – 1 draw with Real Madrid, becoming the first Englishman playing for an English team to score there since Alan Smith in 2001.

Jack Wilshere Arsenal

Again, I’m not sure why Wilshere has been nominated, he was injured until late October and was recently out for another six weeks, but his importance to Arsenal’s midfield has been highlighted, especially when they have seemed to lack any drive.

It is clear to everyone that Wilshere will become an Arsenal legend and potentially a future England captain as his desire and passion mixed with his technical ability and composure make him a joy to watch when he’s pulling the strings in midfield.

BEST MOMENT: Scoring the only goal of the game and putting in a man of the match performance to beat Swansea 1 – 0 in the FA Cup.