3 reasons why Kevin De Bruyne deserves to be named PFA Player of the Year | Premier League 2019-20
- Kevin De Bruyne is the overwhelming favourite for a maiden PFA Player of the Year award, here are three reasons why he deserves it.
With just 12 rounds of matches to go in the current Premier League campaign, we are rapidly approaching the end of what has been another dramatic if not-entirely-intriguing season.
Liverpool's emphatic performance from matchday one saw them installed as champions-elect as early as December, and while there might still be some drama in the relegation dogfight as well as an intriguing battle for the top four, the overwhelming consensus has been that this season has lacked the excitement of years gone by.
Most of the big sides have woefully underperformed, giving a chance to unfancied teams to stake a claim for European places, with Arsenal and Everton among the more disappointing sides.
However, come the end of the season, it is not only league positions that would be decided and players would also get rewarded for their performances over the campaign, with prizes like the Golden Boot, Golden Glove, PFA Player and Young Player of the Year, as well as the Playmaker of the Season award all up for grabs.
When it comes to individual awards, none is as valued as the PFA Player of the Year, as the fact that is is voted for by their fellow professional footballers makes it hold a special place in the hearts of the winners.
Officially called the PFA Players' Player of the Year, the award has been handed out yearly since 1974, and some of the greatest names to grace the Premier League, including Eden Hazard, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Steven Gerrard have all laid claim to the accolade.
Every season, there are always strong contenders for the award and this season has been no different, with a handful of players having stepped up to the plate with their displays throughout the term.
However, one man who deserves it more than others is Kevin De Bruyne, and having been denied after two splendid seasons in the past, it should be a case of third time lucky for the Manchester City star.
While some names like Sadio Mane, Jamie Vardy, and Jordan Henderson have been tipped to win the prize in April, De Bruyne is easily the most deserving player and here, we shall be highlighting three reasons why he should win an inaugural PFA Player of the Year award this season.
#3 He has been the most consistent player throughout the campaign
The fact that Manchester City put up such a limp defence of their Premier League title did not portray them in the best light and if the Citizens fail to add the Champions League and the FA Cup to their kitty this season, this would go down as one of their poorest campaigns in recent history.
Only a handful of City players can genuinely claim to have performed at an optimum this term, and if a list of players who ended the campaign with their reputations boosted were to be made, De Bruyne would be the first name on the list.
The 28-year-old began his campaign with five assists and one goal from his four league matches and that set the template for what was to follow for the rest of the season.
He has performed at an optimum since then, and while his teammates might have flattered to deceive, De Bruyne was almost always at the top of his game in every single match to this point.
The Belgian international is the one outfield player who is immune to Pep Guardiola's notorious rotation policy and this says a lot about the value placed in him by the Spaniard, considering the quality of players the former Barcelona coach has managed throughout his spell in the dugout.
Very rarely has De Bruyne been sub-par in a game this season and a proof of his all-round consistency lies in the fact that he has had a goal contribution in 15 of the 24 games where he played at least 60 minutes.
In essence, the former Wolfsburg man failed to score or assist in just nine of 25 league matches to date. By contrast, Mohamed Salah has contributed a goal or assist in 13 of his 25 matches this season, Mane has 14 in 25, while Jamie Vardy has 'blanked' in 12 of his 25 matches.
In terms of overall consistency, perhaps only Trent-Alexander Arnold comes close to KDB and since the PFA award rewards players for their performances over the season, the Manchester City man should win it by virtue of how consistent he has been since matchday one.
#2 His performances this season have been out of this world
With 16 assists to his name already, De Bruyne is all but guaranteed to win the Playmaker of the Season award for the second time in three years, and it is highly likely that he would have had a clean sweep since the award was introduced if he had remained fit last season.
While he might not get as much rave reviews as some of his more flamboyant peers, it cannot be argued that the Belgian international has been the standout playmaker in the world over the last few years.
Indeed, his record of creating more league assists than the great Lionel Messi between 2013 and 2018 is indicative of his ability and should see him get more adulation.
His all-round style of play makes him the definition of a complete midfielder and a coach's dream, and having missed the bulk of last season due to a nagging ligament problem, the De Bruyne has been back to his blistering best this term.
Manchester City have underperformed this season but it has not been for want of trying from their number 14 and there have been too many standout performances from De Bruyne in the ongoing campaign.
He almost single-handedly destroyed Arsenal in the 3-0 victory in December, weighing in with two goals and an assist inside the first 40 minutes and would have had a first half hat-trick but for an incredible save by Bernd Leno.
He was unplayable in the 4-0 trashing of Leicester City some weeks later and his displays have seen him ushered compliments from pundits and fans alike, with Jamie Carragher calling him 'the best player in the world', while Jamie Redknapp said he is 'the best player in the country by a mile.'
These are no mean exaggerations and a look at De Bruyne's numbers back these up wholesomely.
With 16 assists, he is strolling his way to another top-of-the-table finish in the assists chart, while with 11 matches to go, he has one eye on Thierry Henry's all-time record of 20 and in this form, don't bet against him breaking it.
He has also weighed in with eight goals and almost every one of those have been contenders for Goal of the Season, with De Bruyne showing the full range of his shooting precision and power with both feet, while he has also displayed his all-round ability.
This season, he leads the way in number of through balls (23), as well as big chances created (23), while he has also contributed defensively with 34 tackles, 12 interceptions, 20 clearances, and 108 recoveries.
They say numbers don't lie but these numbers do not tell the full story of De Bruyne's brilliance and one needs only watch Manchester City in action to know how utterly majestic the Belgian has been this season, effortlessly harming opponents with his pristine vision and accurate crossing, while also dictating the tempo of matches with minimum fuss.
#1 It is about time a Manchester City player won the award
In the last decade, no club has been as dominant on the Premier League landscape as Manchester City but for all of their achievements, there is still a feeling of isolation from other mainstream clubs and rival fans, evidenced by the widespread jubilation over their recent ban for breaching FFP rules.
The general consensus is that they are not a 'traditional club' and essentially bought their way to success and while that might be up for debate, their recent legacy cannot be argued about.
Ever since Sergio Aguero stepped up to score that dramatic goal in 2012, Manchester City have grown from strength to strength and rewritten the history books perhaps like no other before them.
Their four league wins is more than anyone else has managed in the last 10 years, while their record-breaking feats in 2018 reset the boundaries of what was previously thought unachievable in the Premier League.
However, despite these, their players are generally overlooked when it comes to individual awards, not enjoying the same accolades and respect accorded their peers from other great sides.
No Manchester City player has ever been named the PFA Player of the Year and while team success does not always equal individual brilliance, the rule has mostly been to find the most exceptional player in title-winning teams, but this sadly does not apply to the Citizens.
There have been several players who made genuine cases to win the PFA Player of the Year in their title-winning campaigns, Yaya Toure in 2014, De Bruyne in 2018, and Raheem Sterling in 2019 but each of these players were overlooked for their contemporaries from other clubs.
For all of his record-breaking feats, Aguero only made it to the PFA Team of the Year in 2018 and while it might be far-fetched to suggest that there is a conspiracy against the City players, a failure to give the most deserving winner this season would lay credence to Sterling's claim that players at other clubs are treated with more respect than those at Manchester City.
Published 04 Mar 2020, 06:57 IST