Gareth Bale Swoops the PFA Awards, Proves the System Is Flawed

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 29, 2013

On Sunday night, Gareth Bale became just the third player in history to scoop both the PFA Player of the Year award and the Young Player of the Year award for the same season.

After a sensational season at Tottenham, in which the midfielder has scored 24 goals at the time of writing, the Welshman is no doubt deserving of some tremendous accolades and praise.

He's developed rapidly, from the left-winger who beat his man over and over to the roaming attacker who scores in every game. Said Bale on winning the trophy (via BBC):

It's a massive honour. To be voted by your peers is one of the biggest things in the game.

When you look at the list there are some massive names on it and the other nominees have been unbelievable this year, but I couldn't have done it without the team.

Indeed, Spurs have had a promising season, the team have played scintillating football at times and Bale has undoubtedly been the star of the show.

But that doesn't mean he should win both awards, and the very fact that's possible suggests the system is broken.

And place no fault on the voters (the players), who simply choose from the selection of nominees and wouldn't think twice about the validity of a shortlist.

The very fact that Bale is eligible for the Young Player of the Year award is odd: He's 23, he made his debut when he was 17 for Southampton and he's racked up almost 200 English Premier League appearances in total.

There are actual young players in the EPL this season who've played superbly, yet didn't get any recognition whatsoever—Matija Nastasic had a phenomenal season and should have won this award, while a mention for Luke Shaw was deserved.

Perhaps it's the high age limit to be considered for the award, perhaps it's that Bale being an established, six-year presence in the league irks you when people consider him young.

Whatever it is, the fact that the Welshman won the younger edition of the award isn't right.

Bale deserves recognition and his winning of the Player of the Year award is justified, but the shine of the ceremony is really taken off when this sort of thing happens.

The PFA have got to reform the award and lower the age barrier like so many other leagues do or introduce new awards alongside this one.

Spain's La Liga award a "Best Newcomer of the Year" award, and last season Isco won it after a sensational breakthrough campaign. Italy's Serie A have a Foreign Player of the Year award.

Why doesn't the EPL follow suit?


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