Apparently in the year 2016 a 24 year old can still be considered a young player… Now I don’t know who runs the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award, but unless they are in their eighties and senile then they are very much wrong.
As the introduction to the post alludes to, the age criteria for the Young Player of the Year award is farcical. In what world is someone who is 23 at the start of the season considered a young player? In my opinion it should be 21 at the start of the season, if not even 20, because what happens is that players such as Lukaku and Coutinho who are in their fourth seasons of Premier League football are taking up places for what is essentially supposed to be a breakthrough player award. It’s a joke.
This year’s brave and generally over aged Young Player of the Year nominees are:
What an unbelievable season Dele Alli has had, it’s crazy to think that he was playing in League 1 last year. His transition to the Premier League has been incredible fluent and that has seen him bag 8 goals and assist 9 more, a season most veteran midfielders would be more than happy, never mind a guy who has played his first game at the top level this season.
Alli in many ways describes Spurs under Pochettino perfectly; youthful exuberance, never ending running and a little bit of something special. To think I scoffed when I saw that he had been called up for England earlier in the season, thinking that once again England had jumped on the bandwagon of a kid who had played a few good games, thinking he is the next saviour, and I was wrong, he is more than deserving of a starting spot for England at the Euros.
Alli is the heavy bookies favourite for this award, and to be honest I think he does deserve recognition for the season he has had, however there are players who have had better seasons who have been nominated. He will win it, but he doesn’t deserve to.
When you look at Barkley’s goal scoring and assists, they aren’t too dissimilar to Alli’s (8 goals and 7 assists), yet I can’t help but think he doesn’t really deserve to be nominated, and only got on the list because he is English. It is harsh but I feel like Barkley’s play has really dropped off in the second half of the season, and when he is bad he is pretty terrible.
Barkley’s last goal in the Premier League was on the 3rd of February (2 against Newcastle) and the one before that was the 28th of November. It isn’t fair to just look at goals as a metric of a player, however when that player is playing at number ten, then I’m afraid you should be putting up better numbers than that. The thing this season about Barkley is that he is still wildly inconsistent, something which in his third full season isn’t impressive. He’s only 22 and he had a great start to the season, but what followed has been mediocre and I think he is very much living off his name for this nomination.
Great to see a goalkeeper get some recognition in these awards because too often the defensive side of the game is totally overlooked for the more flashy attacking side, however the only reason Butland’s nominated is because he is English (bit of a trend here).
10 clean sheets in 31 games, only 37 goals conceded the second most saves in the league (102) are immense stats for your first full season in the league. I think it’s great that a goalkeeper has been nominated and I think that Butland is more than deserving of his nomination, he has had a great year and at only 23 looks like he won’t be at Stoke much longer. To think that he turned down Chelsea to join Stoke, looking like a really good decision just now.
Butland won’t win, but to even get nominated is a great achievement considering his position. He would definitely be in my top six young players.
I don’t think Coutinho should be nominated on two counts; firstly I think that he’s too old and secondly that I think he hasn’t had a good enough season. This is a classic case of lets nominate a Liverpool player for the sake of it.
I don’t actually think he’s had a particularly bad season (7 goals and 5 assists) but he’s only played 21 games and there are other players who have had a greater impact this year who deserve the nod in front of him. Definitely the biggest head scratcher of the six nominees.
The fact that Kane is the only nominee who was also nominated for the Player of the Year tells you that he should win this, however it’s a bit like the year that Ronaldo won Player of the Year but somehow didn’t win Young Player of the Year despite also being nominated for that too. Kane has been Spurs’ best player this season, so it is only natural that he would be above Alli (who I would put as second for the award), sadly for Kane he won it last year and for some reason they don’t like giving it to people two years in a row, even if they did deserve it.
Kane has scored 22 goals this year so far, quite the feat when you consider that he is only in his second season. Kane is arguably the Premier League’s second best striker already and although he may not look like a footballer, run like a carthorse and look clumsy and uncoordinated as fuck, the guy gets it done and should rightfully be this year’s Young Player of the Year.
As I said, sadly for Kane he won’t win the award, despite it making no sense that he doesn’t because that is just how the system works.
Generally I’d say that Lukaku has had a fairly good season (18 goals and 6 assists) and deserves his nomination, however he has (like Barkley) really shaded off in the second half of the season. I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising seeing as Everton’s form has went to shit recently, but I have been disappointed with his play since the turn of the year (only 3 goals in 2016).
It is weird to think that Lukaku is only 22, because he looks like an absolute tank and has been playing at a Premier League level for four years now. It’s even weirder when you think that he had two full seasons at Anderlecht before moving to the league and then sat out a year at Chelsea, he started crazy young.
Anyway Lukaku probably just deserves the nod for the nomination, but seeing as it is his fourth year in the league you would really think that he would have shown more consistency at scoring throughout the year, he shall need to show that if he wants a step up in my opinion.
So there is the top six, however I said that I felt that Coutinho and Barkley shouldn’t be nominated, so who should replace them?
Despite being 24 Christian Eriksen’s lack of nomination is ridiculous, he’s had a brilliant season (6 goals and 10 assists) pulling the strings in the Tottenham midfield. A player who has really matured since last season and has had much greater creativity to his game.
The other glaring miss for me is Hector Bellerin, who I’m sure has missed out because he plays in defence and isn’t English. Bellerin is as capable going forward as he is going back, was absolutely lightning in the first half of the season and although he has cooled off in the second half he has still been quietly good. Let us not forget that often Bellerin is expected to attack and cover for Per Mertesacker’s lack of pace at the same time, a near impossible task.
Now for my top six who were 21 or younger on the first day of the season, a true young player of the year list. I’d have Alli (who would win), Bellerin, Barkley, Martial, Dier and Ake; players who genuinely had their breakout season or first full year in the league (excluding Barkley).
The positive thing for the Premier League is that there is a lot of young talent flying about, the question is whether they will be able to stop that young talent being poached by Barcelona and Real Madrid, as has happened in the last number of years.
So what did you think of the nominees for the Young Player of the Year? Am I write, is it a farce that 24 year olds can still get nominated? Is it a joke that Eriksen has been left off the list? Who else has been snubbed and who will take the trophy home? Leave a comment and share those thoughts.