With the Premier league nearing its end, the awards season is fast approaching. The nominees for the PFA Player of the Year awards have been revealed today, with Liverpool duo Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling fronting the Young Player of Year category.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, and England’s World Cup hopefuls Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw complete the coveted list.
It has been the most open Premier League season in years, with the fate of the title looking to go down the wire; seven teams are locked in the relegation fight, while European places are also up for grabs.
The winner of the PFA Young Player award will be announced next Sunday, and today, writer Tamojit assess the merits of the six nominees:
Raheem Sterling, Liverpool
It’s not everyday that we see a relative youngster hailing from the sidelines and forcing his way through to the England’s national squad, but we have been lucky enough to watch the meteoric rise of Raheem Sterling this season.
Pivotal to Brendan Rodgers’ tactically flexible 4-3-3 diamond setup at Anfield, the 19-year-old has taken the Premier League by storm. His sheer pace, dazzling dribbling ability and immense composure has been one of the dictating factors for Liverpool’s title aspirations.
Sterling’s impressive performances against Tottenham and Manchester City proved that he is ready to hog the limelight in the biggest of stages. If everything goes to plan, he should make Roy Hodgson’s starting eleven for England in the showcase World Cup in Brazil this summer.
Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
Forging a fearless partnership with Luis Suarez up front, Sturridge has sent shivers down the spine of the opposition in the Premier League this season. The 24-year-old has hit the back of the net an astonishing 20 times in 26 appearances in the Premier League, and if Liverpool do march on to win the coveted title, Sturridge could find himself bagging this personal accolade to go with his league winners medal.
Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal
The Welshman enjoyed a stellar start to the season, scoring 13 goals and grabbing six assists in the opening 22 games, before a hamstring injury cut short his adventure for a prolonged period of three months.
Pulling the strings in midfield and scoring for fun, Ramsey was named the player of the month for September, and it is right to say that Arsenal missed the 23 year old during the crucial Christmas period as their title aspirations blew up in smoke.
Luke Shaw, Southampton
Shaw has been a revalation in the league this season, and his many excellent performances this season has already attracted interest from Manchester United and Chelsea, who are set to battle it out for the coveted signature of the 19 year old.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton have had a terrific season in the south coast with Shaw a real gem at the back. His stock has risen so dramatically that the defender is expected to make England’s squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Jose Mourinho’s second coming has seen Chelsea fighting for the Premier League title and coming within the touching distance of reaching the Champions league final for the second time in three years. Pivotal to Mourinho’s squad has been the nimble footed Belgian, Eden Hazard.
Chelsea’s attacking imagination has been invigorated by Hazard, whose performances (14 goals and 7 assists) in England’s top tier this campaign has attracted comparisons with the world’s best two players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Ross Barkley, Everton
Barkley’s meteoric rise in an Everton shirt has propelled him to the cusp of acquiring a boarding pass for England’s flight to Brazil in June. Possessing dazzling ability, with great feet and the nonchalance of beating defenders at will, Barkley has been one of the key figures behind Everton’s challenge for the final Champions league berth this season.
His stupendous goal against Newcastle, running from midfield and beating several defenders on his way to finally slot home, is sure to be one of the major contenders for the Goal of the Season.
Verdict: It is very hard to chose one winner from the list, but considering both the impact and age, Southampton’s Luke Shaw is my choice to get the coveted award.
What do you think? Who deserves the Young Player of the Year award? Let me know in the comments below…