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Why Jack Wilshere Deserves the 2011 PFA Young Player Of The Year Award

Photo by Ronnie Macdonald

This season has seen many players turn out match winning performances week-in week-out. As a result, the PFA Player of the Year is harder to call than ever. The young Player of the Year Award may be easier to judge. Only two players stand out: Jack Wilshere and Gareth Bale. Phil Jones and Andy Carroll are also worth a mention. But out of the two leading candidates, I feel Wilshere should claim the accolade.

Whilst everyone in recent times has seen Cesc Fabregas as Arsenal’s midfield maestro and the player that holds the team together, it has been the emergence of the 19-year-old Englishman that you could say has kept Arsenal in the hunt for the Premier League title up ’til now. Whilst Arsenal’s midfield was being dominated by Barcelona in their recent tie, it was Jack Wilshere who was the only player keeping up with them and at times outclassing them. As the season has grown so has the player. He is calm on the ball, and his pinpoint accuracy when passing is at times breathtaking. Some may rightly say more goals are required before he is seen as one of the best in the league but this season his performances have been near perfect.

Bale on the other hand has been untouchable at times, especially the two games against Inter Milan, but isn’t as consistent especially in the Premier League. Some games he has lit up the left hand side but in too many games he has gone missing. Some may say it is down to some niggling injuries he has suffered.

Due to the hype surrounding his name Bale will probably scoop to win the award but I feel this will be unfair to Wilshere as he has been the most consistent and frankly the best young player overall this season.

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  1. shane maccarthy

    April 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    he is surely the best

  2. ayano

    April 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    wilshere deserve it

  3. fredwat

    April 13, 2011 at 7:41 am

    wilshere is the youngest played all arsenal matches and has managed to shine against the best team in the world(barc)

  4. Ken

    April 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I think its all a bit backwards. Nasri and Bale are nominated for YPOY and POY yet Wilshere is odds on fav to win YPOY. If hes better than bale and nasri, then why is he not nominated for POY like they are? Doesnt make sense. Also Bale something like 3-1 2nd fav to win YPOY yet hes 1-3 odds on to win POY. If he wins POY then he should win YPOY aswell. Its simple. It looks so stupid to have the POY come second in the YPOY. But, i guess thats just the PFA way and mentality. Not the brightest bunch. I understand that they prob dont want the same player to win both awards and should spread them out, but still. Perhaps players shouldnt be nominated for both then and the age for YPOY should be put down to 21 and younger. Wilshere will get it cause hes english and because he is a proper young player (19). In football, once ur 21, 22 ,23 like bale, nani, nasri, hernandez, youve been around for ages and are not generally considered a young player. Look at Messi. This also happened a few years ago. Ronaldo was good enough to win PFA POY, World Player of Year and European Player of Year, but not quite good enough to win PFA YPOY which went to Fabregas. Its daft. But thats footballers! .

    How many times have you heard an “expert” like Jamie Redknapp say, after a footballer misses an open goal after 2mins and then goes on to score 2 in the game, “but he could have had a hatrick if hed scored that open goal” lol. Er, well, no, the game would have been completely different, the ball would have gone back to the centre spot instead of a gola kick, teams would have changed tactics, played differently, whole different game. Player might have scored a hatrick or 4 or 5, who knows, but it wouldnt have been the exact same 2 goals. But they will say if a pleyer gets sent off, that “we’ll never know what would have happened if at had been 11 vs 11”. Surely if they use the same theory about the hatrick, then the game wouldnt have changed one bit and eg spurs would have still got thumped 4 – 0. Footballers are so stupid! (Rant over)

  5. Chip

    April 6, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Wow. You’re right. Wilshere will win, given these impressive stats which put him ahead of the crowd:
    He is 19 years old
    He is English
    He exudes class
    He plays most every game
    He’s got 8 assists
    He’s scored 2 goals
    He isn’t Portuguese
    And last but certainly not least, he got nominated.

  6. Leroy Jones

    April 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    What exactly is the criteria for the award? In other words, what makes one of these guys more outstanding than the other? Average Joe, you base a large part of your argument that Wilshere should win over Hernandez because he’s started in more games and played 90 mins on more occasions than Hernandez. Is there a requirement that a player up for the award play a certain amount of minutes a game? In my opinion, the most outstanding young player should be the player that had the most meaningful and determinative impact in the time he contributed. I’m sorry, but Hernandez wins that argument hands down.

    1) Hernandez has come off the bench (and now starts) in support of Wayne Rooney and Berbatov. Let me say that again…Wayne Rooney and Berbatov. These guys aren’t bums as far as I know. Who has Wilshere kept on the bench?…Abou Diaby? Frimpong? I’m sorry but the class that Hernandez had to compete with and eventually won over is far superior to that then Wilshere has kept on the bench. Hernandez has kept the league’s leading scorer off the pitch for over a month now.

    2) I’m sorry but scoring goals have to count for much more than you are allowing. Goals win games, no? Holding the ball and dribbling and “exuding class” don’t cut it alone. Hernandez has impacted the bottom line of the game where it counts – on the scoreboard. I know it’s great to see an English version of Xavi pass the ball around in triangles in mid-field, but it’s not more outstanding than what Hernandez has done.

    Bottom line: Wilshere has been on the pitch longer than Hernandez, but has had less of an impact on the performance of his team. Hernandez has scored match winner after match winner in crucial situations and Man U is still up to win the Treble. Arsenal has floundered and albeit Jack has been the little engine that could, he hasn’t been any more outstanding than Wilshere. My prediction however is that Wilshere will get the award because he is English, and a different kind of English player than the norm.

    • Thommo

      April 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      Not picking a problem with your point entirely, even though my opinion does differ from yours. (I would personally pick Wilshere because he got man of the match in a game that Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Van Persie played in, anyone who can outshine those players at the age of 19 is freakishly good) No the main problem I have with your comment, and I stress I’m not looking for an argument, but your comment of “Goals win games, no? Holding the ball and dribbling and “exuding class” don’t cut it alone. Hernandez has impacted the bottom line of the game where it counts – on the scoreboard” is something I find completely retarded, how can you possibly say midfielders aren’t as important as goalscorers? Does this make Chicharito better than Xavi, JT, Fabregas, Vidic and Casillas? To name but a few people who don’t score as many goals. I personally think not.

  7. Denva

    April 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I Believe MY vote is to Jack Wilshere i am a pool fan and Hernandez has been outstanding but Wilshere has created loads of chances his completed passes this season is 85% thats near Nani and Fabregas and thats outstanding for a young lad he would have got more assists had people like Bendtner and Diaby push the ball more in the net if Bendtner had to push that ball in the net against Barce Wilshere would we man of the match
    anyway Bale has not shone since Injury and same for Andy Carroll

  8. Red Ben

    April 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Sorry mate, but you’ve GOT to be mental. Nani is nominated, so how the crap anyone can look past him his beyond me?

    16 assists and 9 goals in the team almost certain to win the title… what more does he have to do? It’s just a popularity contest at the end of the day though, isn’t it?

  9. bawezee

    April 5, 2011 at 6:02 am

    really wilshere deserves the award, the boy is only 19, but check out how outstanding he has been in arsenals midfield, to me is jack wilsherre all the way

  10. james

    April 5, 2011 at 3:10 am

    What a joke, really. This lad hernandez is not on the list.

  11. paul

    April 4, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Nani All The Way!!!. Remember all those goals and assists.

  12. ayush

    April 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Seamus Coleman should be in conversation tooo!

  13. Robin

    April 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    With the FA being English and all the award will maybe go to Wilshere because he is English

  14. Evan

    April 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm


  15. average joe

    April 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    yes, as I myself pointed out, Chicharito has scored many winning goals, but that alone shouldn’t put him over Wilshere, since he’s a striker and scoring goals is his job, while Wilshere is a central midfielder who won just as many games for Arsenal by brilliantly playing his designated role in team play.

    Also, Chicharito didnt play as many games as Wilshere, and most of his games he came from the bench, so it’s a lot more justified to praise Wilshere’s consistency than Hernandez’. Also, he simply doesnt emit the overall class of a Jack Wilshere, whose winning the Ballon d’Or, most people will agree, is just a matter of time.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      April 4, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      “Chicharito has scored many winning goals, but that alone shouldn’t put him over Wilshere, since he’s a striker and scoring goals is his job, while Wilshere is a central midfielder who won just as many games for Arsenal by brilliantly playing his designated role in team play.”
      – Ehm… can you see your own contradiction here? Chicharito only scores goals because he is a striker, while Wilshere is brilliant in his designated role… and you claim they both have won just as many games… so where is the difference??

      Stats claim Chicharito should get it:
      Wilshere: 41 games (4 as sub), 2 goals, 8 assists
      Chicharito: 35 games (17 as sub), 17 goals, 1 assist*
      Bale: 33 games (2 as sub), 11 goals, 1 assist*
      *- assist stats cannot be found for non-EPL games.

      • average joe

        April 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

        umm nope, no contradiction there. I just said Javier’s goals alone shouldnt put him above Wilshere, they’re both great in their respective roles, no difference there.

        But the stats actually say Wilshere should get it, since he played more games than Chicharito, and most of them for 90 minutes, and he was absolutely mint in almost all of them. (and dont give me any goals-per-match average bollocks)

        • Hack

          April 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm

          “Chicharito didnt play as many games as Wilshere, and most of his games he came from the bench, so it’s a lot more justified to praise Wilshere’s consistency than Hernandez’”

          That proves my earlier point, eventhough Hernandez has not started as many games, the games he has entered as sub he has made a significant impact.

          She he be penalized because he had to sit behind Rooney and Berbatov? SAF has realized what Hernanez can do and eventual has sat down the EPL’s leading scorer so Chicharito can more time.

          • average joe

            April 4, 2011 at 2:39 pm

            um no mate, it doesnt prove your point. you just dont get it, do you. by your logic if there is a player that came on as a sub in 1 match for 5 minutes and shot a goal in those 5 minutes, and that was that, this player should get the award.

            Luckily the people who know the game and whose votes count know better than that, and thats why Wilshere will get the award. Chicharito simply didnt play enough to deserve it, deal with it.

      • average joe

        April 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm

        oh sorry, I just re-read what you wrote, and only now realized what you didnt understand. Apparently to you winning a game for your team consists exclusively of scoring goals.
        Dont even bother explaining to me then how John Terry won the award back in 2005, it must’ve been because of winning all those matches for his team by scoring all those goals..

  16. King Eric

    April 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Has to be between Wilshere, Bale, Hernandez. If any of those three get it that, then I doubt many people will complain.

    • Silverose

      April 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Even a blind man shld knw that the YPOTY award is btw Wilshere and Chicarito.

  17. Eric

    April 4, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I don’t know how you missed Javier Hernandez mate. In a league where everyone talks about how new signings need ‘adjustment time’, Hernandez has had no problem whatsoever, and is scoring at a rate of 1 goal in every 2 game. And he isn’t doing it for a bottom half team with less press coverage, he is doing it for one of the biggest clubs in the world. For me, Young Player of the Year has to be Chicharito.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      April 4, 2011 at 11:56 am

      Chicharito vs. Wilshere is the ONLY matchup for EPL YPotY. Both have good arguments to make, but to me, the goal-scoring record of Chicharito eggs the hard work done by Wilshere… Wilshere blew some big chances against Blackburn to make his name heard.

      Bale? Where has he been since December?

  18. Hack

    April 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

    To me, it has to be Hernandez. Look back to earlier in the season when Rooney was out and Berbatov was still shaky, Hernandez came in and was influential in winning matches. The matches against Stoke and Valencia, Hernandez provided game winners along with steady play throughout. Also, consider that this is the first year that Hernandez has played and had to adjust to playing in the EPL, where as the likes of Bale and Wilshire have participated for a couple of seasons.

  19. anthony wills

    April 4, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Although Wilshire has been very very good this season, he still isn’t a match winner as Bale and Hernandez are. Wilshire keeps the ball well and plays alot of sideways passes to link up play, whereas the other two take players on, and score lots of goals (JH-10, GB-7, JW-1) but, hernandez doesn’t start every game, and Bale has been out for long periods, so, looking at facts like these who deserves the award? Don’t forget that players like Nani, Nasri, Carroll, and Hart are also in the running. Its not easy to decide, but, although i think that Hernandez should win it, my money would be on Wilshire.

  20. Matt

    April 4, 2011 at 8:24 am

    I don’t know how I missed him. He is absolutely in contention. And I’m a United fan.

    I feel so ashamed.

    • Jr

      April 5, 2011 at 2:13 am

      I think chicharito deserves to win the award. Both players are great in their possitions that they play but hernandez is a good part of the reason why man u is in first place right now. He has won crucial games for them and has been deadly. He knows how to find the back of the net. He’s managed to keep berbatov on the bench and he’s the leagues leading scorer. His work ethic is incredible and also his ability to not let the fame get to his head. He is overall a great young player and deserves to win this award.

    • shane maccarthy

      April 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      this boy is indeed the next EPL star.

  21. average joe

    April 4, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Yes it’s a 2 horse race, but not between Wilshere and Bale, but Wilshere and United’s Hernandez. Bale hasnt shown much since approx. January, whereas Wilshere was always consistent, but Hernandez scored 17 goals in 35 appearances, the greater part of which were match winners or equalizers, and was just as consistent as Wilshere, having a great impact on his team’s play. (even though he doesnt have all the world class talent Jack has, you might argue)
    and I’m an Arsenal fan too, btw.

    • Chip

      April 6, 2011 at 1:13 am

      I guess I am not getting the “Hernandez…doesn’t have world class talent…”. part of the post.

      14 International goals in 2 years for his national team against the likes of Argentina, France, Spain and the Netherlands. 3 crucial Champions league goals (so far) in his first year in Europe. And, I believe, the highest goal per minutes rate in the EPL.

      Am I missing something? Oh yeah, he is not English.

  22. Evan

    April 4, 2011 at 7:49 am

    How old does a player have to be for them to be eligible for this award?

  23. Matt

    April 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

    It is definitely a two horse race at this point. Wilshere has been stunning all year long (the first thing that comes to mind is the first leg vs Barca). Him stepping into this role and succeeding at such a young age may finally allow for Arsenal to consider a Fabregas return to the Camp Nou.

    All that said, I would rather have Bale given that he is healthy. There is a difference between being man of the match and truly taking over a match. Both have been man of the match numerous times this year, but Wilshere has yet, for me, to take one over in the way Bale did more than once before his injury early in the year.

    Whoever puts together a better run in these last 6ish weeks gets my vote.

  24. Mike

    April 4, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Why does Jones deserve a mention? He has been out from 18th December to 2nd April. 3 and a half months missing from an 9 and a half month season is quite a big chunk to miss. So how can he get a mention if he hasn’t performed over the whole season?

    Wilshere is the only candidate. Anything else is a disgrace. Yes I say that as an Arsenal fan, and yes I do rate Bale, but like you say Wilshere has been the most consistent performer over the whole season.

    • James

      April 4, 2011 at 8:39 am

      If Blackburn stays up he’ll have a big reason to do with it. He brings a lot of heart and passion to the pitch. Qualities that Blackburn did not posses in large chunks during his absence.

      However, I think it should go to Chicharito over anyone else.

      • Caleb Castillo

        May 4, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        Why not Javier Hernandez? Oh just because he’s Mexican huh? -______-

        • Chip

          May 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

          Oh, no no no no no. No. Um. It couldn’t possibly be that. The English have way too much class for that. Really, it’s not that he comes form, where did you say, somewhere in South America? That would be wrong. Utterly wrong, and without class. None of that. It’s just that, well… you see… And well, we know he’s not English… but no no it’s not that either. Really, the English have much too much class for something like that to matter. Its just…. Oh yeah, I remember now. It’s really about, Jack Wilshere. Well how do I say this best. Oh yeah, he exudes class. True class. That’s fair, right? Yeah, and he’s a world class talent. Yeah. Can play with the big boys. Did you know he almsot got on the World Cup squad last year? Yeah, a class act. Ok. Um, er, who’s this other guy you were talking about?

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      April 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Chicharito = consistency. Different roles, but he cannot be neglected…

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