Biggest Misses in the PFA Young/Player of the Year Shortlists
On Friday, the PFA shortlist was announced for both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards.
Usually a prestigious event full of worthy nominees and an eventual deserved winner, this season's awful shortlist has brought the award into disrepute.
Here, we look at the five biggest misses from the PFA, be it player inclusion, non-inclusion or the very nature of the categorisation.
The Very Nature of the Young Player Award
The PFA Young Player of the Year award is given to the best player aged 23 or under.
That's allowed Gareth Bale to sneak into the running. Quite rightly, under the current rulings and guidelines, he looks like the overwhelming favourite to land the award.
Twenty-three—it's not that young. Someone like Bale, who has made just shy of 200 Premier League appearances, can hardly be considered young given the amount of time he's been in the public eye.
Danny Welbeck's Inclusion
I actually blinked twice when I saw Danny Welbeck's name on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award—surely that's a mistake?
Never has mediocrity been so fruitfully rewarded, and one league goal as a striker for the nation's top club is now enough to secure a nomination for this prestigious award.
The Englishman has made a (small) splash on the international stage and performed superbly against Real Madrid, but that seems to have shrouded many a vision.
The Total Lack of Balance
There is not one defender in either set of nominations this year.
Are we suggesting that defending simply isn't important, or that no defenders played well this season?
Yes, the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry are oft-injured or in decline, but new stars have arisen this season that don't deserve to be forgotten.
Leighton Baines is a creative machine from left-back. In the eyes of many, he should usurp Ashley Cole in the England setup. Phil Jagielka has put together another brilliant season and Jan Vertonghen has been this season's star centre-back.
Pablo Zabaleta is a man who, as par for the course, has performed brilliantly. Meanwhile, Rafael is streets ahead of club-mate Danny Welbeck at the moment.
One Prime Omission
Keeping our thoughts trained on the unbalanced nature of the shortlist, I'd like to talk about one specific player, and that man is oft-forgotten Matija Nastasic.
The Manchester City defence has been a little inconsistent this season, but throughout the chopping and changing at right-back, Vincent Kompany's injuries and a weak holding midfield pivot, Nastasic has been pure gold.
Not enough attention is given to how quickly the teenage Serbian adapted to life in England, then subsequently became a key starter.
No Newcomer of the Year Award?
It's time we split the players into three categories.
There will always be calls for new signings to be honoured in these awards, but rarely will the likes of Michu and Jan Vertonghen shoe-horn their way into consideration.
Why not adopt a Newcomer of the Year? A signing from a foreign league who has had a stellar debut season; most other European leagues encompass one. For example, Serie A has a Foreign Player of the Year award.