Football Writers’ Association FWA will on Friday hand out its best player of the year award which is similar to the Ballon d’ or with its voting system as it is a collection of media correspondents and journalists in England.
The FWA is the oldest and adored award in English football. One of its founders Charles Buchan said: “The award goes to the professional player who by precept and example is considered by a ballot of members to be the footballer of the year both on and off the pitch.”
Looking at some of the names in contention for this year’s FWA player of the year award with Liverpool players holding a significant stake as they are already champions of England.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Defender, Liverpool.
The Merseyside player has been in sensational form for Liverpool this season, and he has chipped in goals and assists out from the defensive position with only Kevin De Druyne ranking higher on the assist table.
The last defender win the FWA player of the year award was in 1989 by a Liverpool defender Steve Nicol.
Trent has been ever-present in the Reds title-winning squad and holds a bragging right as any of Liverpool front three of Firmino, Salah and Mane.
Without the full-back’s delivery of pinpoint crosses Liverpool will be a less potent force coupled with his pace and athleticism which gives him an edge.
The 21 years old full-back is an exemplary figure at Anfield as he is often shown off as a model citizens to the youth team. An excellent example of consistency, grit and reliance.
Kevin DeBrurne, Midfielder, Manchester City
One thing is common with Manchester City when in possession of the ball which is, every ball goes through Kevin.
He tops the table for most assist in the Premier League and also has the chance to set a new record and surpass Henry’s record of 20 assists of 2003. Some say if City players converted every opportunity created, Kevin would have set a new Premier League record.
The Belgian is not just a creator, he has 11 goals to his name this season which means he has been involved in more than a quarter of goals scored this season.
He has been consistent in the English top-flight ever since his transfer from Wolfburg in 2015 and deserves to win the FWA award.
Jordan Henderson, Midfielder, Liverpool.
The Liverpool skipper may not win a popularity contest at Liverpool because he hasn’t made as much impact as Mane or Virgil Van Dijk.
But, the founding members of the FWA award focuses on players who have stood above other in “precept and example”.
Jordan Henderson’s impact in the Red’s title-winning squad cannot be qualified with goals but stands out as an exemplary figure that commands respect and acts as a model player for the team.
Henderson has been a standard during the Covid-19 lockdown to unify players and raised several millions of pounds to tackle the spread.
The midfielder has been a standard both on and off the field with his unique leadership skill.
Danny Ings, Striker, Southampton.
The Southampton striker is an outstanding individual with so much resilience and persistence.
No striker in the Premier League has scored more goals than Danny Ings from open play, a lot of people will argue that this is a guy who went on a goal drought for two and a half-season.
His goals this season is the only reason Southampton will not be playing in the English lower division, he scored close to half of the team’s goal with a team that had Armstrong, Redmond and Stephens its lead creators.
With the FWA award, Ings stands a chance to be rewarded for his contribution to his team with it is belief, consistency and doggedness.
Marcus Rashford, Striker, Manchester United
Usually, the players from the team that take the league title stand a better chance to win the most accolade for the season
But, what Rashford has done on and off the pitch this season is beyond football, at 22, he had to learn the trickery of not just scoring a goal but also of government policy.
The Manchester United Striker is responsible for the U-turn of the UK government to its School meal program which would have affected thousands of children around the country.
While his team might be struggling to secure a top 4 spot this season, Rashford has contributed 25 goals both in the League and cup matches.
Rashford has used his platform as a popular figure through sport to force a change in the public space, this is worthy of recognition from the FWA.
Sadio Mane, Winger, Liverpool.
Mane is one to shy away from the media at every given opportunity. In January, when he won his African Player of the year award, he said: “I would rather be playing football than talking to so many people.”
The forward’s is direct and lethal in his style of play but always leaves a smile on his face.
Liverpool’s Premier League triumph has been on the back of Mane’s ruthless and exemplary work rate. His versatility has also seen him play across different position in the attack; he was the first signing of the Klopp era from Southampton in June 2016.
Sadio Mane is a vital piece of the Liverpool front three with a combine 40 goals between them to win their first title in 30 years.
He is always willing to pick out a teammate even when faced with an empty goal, with 17 goals and 7 assists this season. Mane was Lionel Messi’s pick for the 2019 Ballon d’ or in December. “I chose him because he’s a player that I like.”