90min
Premier League

The six PFA Player of the Year candidates - ranked

Ross Jackson
Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden are both up for the award
Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden are both up for the award / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Were the rest of the Premier League really that rubbish that the PFA had to resort to nominating four Manchester City players for their annual player of the year award?

Now we're thinking about it, yeah they really didn't have a lot of choice.

Phil Foden, Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and the City kit man are all up for the award, with Tottenham's Harry Kane and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes the other nominees.

City's kit man isn't really up for the gong by the way, sky blue is a tricky colour to try and get clean.

Rubbish jokes aside, we've taken a look at the six nominees for this season's Player of the Year award and ranked them in the order of who we think is the most deserving of recognition.


6. Phil Foden

Phil Foden is becoming an increasing influence on the Manchester City starting XI
Phil Foden is becoming an increasing influence on the Manchester City starting XI / Pool/Getty Images

Alright, so he's clearly a talented footballer and he's unquestionably going to 'bring football home' this summer, but player of the year after 17 league starts? Just...no.

If Pep Guardiola didn't have 37 midfielders and 13 wide forwards in his squad then Foden would likely have been given more game time and could have been in contention.

As it is, the 21-year-old started less than half of City's Premier League outings and we refuse to accept that's enough involvement to warrant being given an award that's supposed to recognise a player's contribution over an entire season.

Breakthrough season? Yes. Best player in the league over 38 games? Absolutely not.


5. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne was a huge part of Manchester City's title-winning side
Kevin De Bruyne was a huge part of Manchester City's title-winning side / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Similar argument really, De Bruyne's chances of claiming the award have been hampered by niggling injuries and Guardiola's squad rotation in the latter stages of the season.

The Belgian genius missed a third of City's matches over the campaign, and while he was brilliant in the 25 league games he played, it's just not enough to warrant the award given the level some of the other nominees have been playing at over virtually the entire season.

He's a shoo-in for next week's PFA Player of the Two-Thirds of the Year award, but not here we're afraid.


4. Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan enjoyed the best goalscoring season of his career so far
Ilkay Gundogan enjoyed the best goalscoring season of his career so far / Pool/Getty Images

We're not going to overlook Gundogan's achievement of scoring 17 goals in all competitions this season after managing two fewer than that in his entire five years at Borussia Dortmund.

However, after transforming into prime Lionel Messi at the turn of the year and bagging at a rate of a goal every game for nearly two months, the goals dried up a little after that.

Gundogan scored two in his final ten Premier League outings and as good as his all round performances still were, it was his goalscoring exploits that made him stand out, so we can't warrant putting him any higher than fourth on our list.

Three City players down one to go.


3. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes enjoyed a superb first full season at Manchester United
Bruno Fernandes enjoyed a superb first full season at Manchester United / Pool/Getty Images

Fernandes played every league game for Manchester United this season until their final outing of the campaign, so we definitely can't use the old 'didn't play enough' card here.

18 goals and 11 assists is mighty impressive stuff, though United still ended the season empty-handed. Booking their place in next season's Champions League is obviously a good achievement, but Fernandes' contribution would look so much more impressive if it actually helped his side win something.

We get that this is an individual award, but you've got to take everything into account when it comes to picking the best player in the league and so Fernandes just misses out for us.


2. Harry Kane

Who knows where Tottenham would have finished without Harry Kane
Who knows where Tottenham would have finished without Harry Kane / Visionhaus/Getty Images

We can hear the cries already: 'how's Kane above Fernandes then if United finished above Tottenham and they both won nothing?'.

Because Kane was better, that's how.

Bagging 23 goals and 14 assists on his way to claiming both the Golden Boot and the Playmaker award is an extraordinary achievement.

Who knows where Spurs would have finished this season without their prolific talisman leading the line, and what's perhaps even more impressive is how consistent he was, with his longest goal draught in the league all season just three games - and that only happened once!


1. Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias has transformed Manchester City's backline
Ruben Dias has transformed Manchester City's backline / Michael Regan/Getty Images

So why's Kane not number one then? Well, because this man is.

Guardiola has proven in his time at City that throwing millions of pounds at defenders doesn't guarantee a solid defence, though his purchase of Dias has basically fixed City's entire backline.

In City's first two Premier League outings prior to Dias' arrival this season they conceded six goals, yet once the youngster slotted into the backline it took them 13 games to concede more than a combined total of six goals - that's how much of an impact he made at the club.

To basically fix a defence without having a pre-season at a new club during your first season outside of your home country is a phenomenal achievement, and without Dias, City may well not have won the title.

AND he's nearly fixed John Stones! Automatic player of the season.


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