It is that time of the year again. The football season is nearing its end and clubs will evaluate their team’s successes and failures. The performances of the players will be assessed and a decision on their futures will be made as well.
Certain players will have excellent seasons and will be in contention for winning awards as the season comes to an end. In England players under the age of 23 at the start of the 2016/17 season are eligible for winning the PFA Young Player of the Year based on their outstanding performances over the course of the season. However, the award has always been won by a team in the English top-flight.
Last year, Tottenham’s Dele Alli won the award as he announced himself on the world stage with displays that belied his age in the Premier League. The award acts as an indicator for potential future superstars with players such as Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and current Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale having won it in previous years.
These players are currently lynchpins of their respective teams and this shows how the Young Player of the Year is a marker for the next big thing in football. So, here are the top 5 contenders for the award this season.
#5 Ross Barkley
The jury is still out on Ross Barkley as he continues to divide opinion amongst fans and pundits. On one side, his quality is unquestionable with his dribbling ability reminiscent of Paul Gascoigne and a young Wayne Rooney. However, it is his inability to impose himself on games consistently that is often criticised by his manager Ronald Koeman and recently by former Everton player Leon Osman.
While his rise to become a world-beater is still in question, he had a superb 2017 so far for Everton and has impressed with great performances in most games. He has picked up six assists this year alone and has eight assists in total along with four goals this season. Further, he makes 2.4 key passes per game which a number which is bettered only by Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen and former West Ham player Dimitri Payet.
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The 23-year old Englishman has an outside chance to win the award, especially if he puts on top displays between now and the end of voting.