The 2016/17 football league season is drawing to a close with teams and players assessing their performances and deciding on targets for next season. The players who have done well this season would have either helped their side capture silverware or must have stood out in a lacklustre team.
Either way, these players will be in the running for the end-of-season awards which serve as an appreciation for their efforts and also as an advertisement in case they are looking out for a move in the summer.
In England, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year is the most coveted individual award given to a player whose performances over the course of the season have been exemplary. This award is being given since the 1973-74 league season and the winner is voted by fellow players in the league, giving the award authenticity and relevance.
The star player in Leicester City’s underdog Premier League win last season, Riyad Mahrez, won the award last year but is out of running this year due to the Foxes’ failure to muster any sort of title defence this season.
Only five players in Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have won the award twice in its long history.
Further, there is a separate award for players under 23 years of age in PFA Young Player of the Year, which was won by Tottenham’s Dele Alli last season. These players are eligible for PFA Players’ Player of the Year award as well and only three players have ever won both the awards in the same season. They are Andy Gray, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
Here are the 6 nominees ranked in order of their chances to win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award for the 2016/17 league season in England.
#6 Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku’s name has been doing the rounds for a while in the Premier League and it is in this season that he has stepped up a level at Everton, showing his readiness to lead the attack for any top side in the world.
He has 23 goals so far this season before the start of gameweek 33 and has a comfortable four-goal cushion over Harry Kane, who has recently returned from an injury layoff. The Belgian has been phenomenal at home in recent months having scored 13 goals in the last 8 home games including scoring in each one of them.
Lukaku has 6 assists to go along with the goals and at 23 years of age and has been nominated for the Young Player of the Year award as well. While he does have a good chance to win either award, it is more likely that he will fall just short in either case.