Tonight sees the PFA Awards take place in London – one of the most prestigious individual accolades to win in English football and unlike the Football Writers’ Footballer of The Year, this is voted by the professional footballers ‘trade union’ of members. Shortlisted this year is Didier Drogba, Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas. Whilst for PFA Young Player of the Year Rooney and Fabregas are joined by England’s James Milner and Joe Hart.
At the departure of both Ronaldo and Tevez in the summer of 2009 many questions were asked of Wayne Rooney and how he would handle the responsibility of becoming the ‘goal getter’ for United. In previous seasons many have seen Rooney as the link up man, working tirelessly and creating chances for others. This season the transformation has truly taken place. He is without question a true goalscorer – all of his 33 goals this season have been scored within the penalty box. This is double the amount of goals he scored in 2008-09 season, providing a clear indication that this season Rooney has become a centre forward to lead the line. His performances against AC Milan in the Champions League and the quality of the two headed goals in Milan has showed that his all-round game has improved vastly.
As an Arsenal fan I can’t stand the sight of this guy, he a right pain in the Gregory Peck. With all his sliding, hand waving, chest pumping celebrations, ruining my Super Sunday’s by finishing more braces against my boys than an Orthodontist. But without question he is world class and a complete striker, strong in the air, good with both feet, creates many goals for his team mates and has managed another 30 goal season. If you were to ask the majority of the defenders in the Premier League who they would least like to play against, the majority would say DD.
I was somewhat surprised when Carlos Tevez decided to swap the red shirt of Manchester for a sky blue one. He was in a similar position to Rooney in that he does so much for the team in his work ethic that his goal tally suffers because of it. With all the strike power City posses this season he has come out in flying colours – scoring 22 league goals and 6 in the Carling Cup run. The majority of his goals did come in the purple patch around Christmas and New Year, which include his hat-trick against Blackburn and doubles against Wolves, Bolton and arguably his best performance of the season in the League Cup Semi Final against Manchester United.
– How long can Arsenal keep their talismanic captain for? Another season? Or will the World Cup be the ‘shop window’ for him to wear the ‘come and get me Barcelona’ t-shirt? Often criticised for his lack of goals Fabregas has delivered 15 leagues goals and 19 in all competitions. But his biggest asset is the creativity he possesses in the final third (that their last three games against, Tottenham, Wigan and Manchester City was clearly lacking). He won the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2008 and is in line for both gongs this year, but his biggest challenge will be to get fit for Spain’s World Cup campaign after suffering a broken leg against Barcelona. Then he has the easy task of getting ahead of Xavi and Iniesta, sounding familiar?
On the Young Player of The Year front I think this award will go to James Milner of Aston Villa, who since he came on as a substitute for England against Holland back in August has had a wonderful season for both Aston Villa playing a vital part in two Wembley visits and ensuring European football again at Villa Park for next season, and that could still be the Champions League – has shown why he is ahead of his team mates Ashley Young and Stewart Downing for a world cup berth.
As for the Players’ Player of The Year, for me Wayne Rooney would get my vote and will win the award for a season that has surpassed many people’s expectation, except probably his own and his manager. One only hopes that he can stay fit and lead England to World Cup glory.