Arsenal's Jack Wilshere has been short-listed for the PFA Young Player of the Year award 2011, along with his teammate Samir Nasri, Manchester City's Joe Hart, Tottenham's Gareth Bale, Manchester United's Luis Nani and Everton's Seamus Coleman.
Nani, for some reason, was overlooked for the senior award and isn't the front-runner for the junior accolade either.
Nani must consider himself unlucky, as his best season in the English Premier League didn't get the recognition that it deserved. Nani's omission from the Player of the Year shortlist may be surprising, but even more surprising is the inclusion of Coleman in the junior category ahead of the likes of Javier Hernandez and Andy Carrol.
Hernandez, in his debut season in the Premiership, has even surpassed the expectations of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The young Mexican was expected to play a bit-part role while adjusting to a new league; however, his cameo appearances were enough to dislodge Dimitar Berbatov, who is the leading goalscorer in the Premiership, from the starting 11.
That doesn't mean Coleman doesn't deserve to be on that list. He has been excellent for Everton this season; in fact, he has been the consistent performer for Everton in a mostly inconsistent season.
His pace, versatility and immaculate crossing on the right flank aided in Everton's resurrection after a dismal start to the 2010/11 campaign.
That said, the real competition for the Young Player award is between Wilshere and Bale. Bale shot to prominence with his blistering run and mesmerising hat-trick against Internazionale Milan at the San Siro.
Although he set the European stage on fire with his blazing performances, Bale couldn't emulate the same in the domestic league; moreover, injuries also restricted him in the second half of the season. This is where his rival has the advantage.
Wilshere was never expected to play half the number of games he has already played this season. He may only be 19, but his pugnacious spirit showed throughout. At the beginning of the season, he was only 18 and everyone expected the diminutive midfielder to go out on loan to Bolton to complete his education.
However, Wilshere's determination and work rate during preseason encouraged Arsene Wenger to confer his Arsenal debut against Liverpool. Since then, he has been a regular in the Arsenal team—probably the only Arsenal player who has disappointed the Arsenal medical staff and surpassed their expectations.
Wilshere provided the stability that the Arsenal midfield craved for and outperformed the far-famed Cesc Fabregas. Even Fabio Capello couldn't stop glorifying Wilshere in public, which underlines the impact he has had this season.
Nailing down a regular starting place for England and Arsenal is a tough task in itself and even more challenging at 19. That's exactly what Wilshere has done and he's already heralded as the future England captain, which is no surprise given the talent possessed by this rising star.
He's the technically gifted, ball-playing midfielder that England badly needed to compete with the likes of Spain, Brazil and Germany in the future. For all the talent he possesses, Wilshere is intelligent and mature beyond his age.
God bestowed him with the first touch that other players of his age dream of attaining at 23 or 24. He's also calm in possession. His amazing passing range just indicates what's there to come from him in the future.
The precocious midfielder is also an exceptional dribbler. His tackling prowess and strength also qualifies him for the defensive midfield slot.
He's too talented to play that role, but still capable if need be.
One negative side to his game which he can improve on as he matures is his ineffectiveness in front of the goal. He must work on his finishing to add the cutting edge.
Regardless of his shortcomings, Wilshere has certainly done enough to secure the prestigious honour this season. With 24 league starts so far and seven outings in the Champions League, including his standout show against Barcelona, Wilshere's durability and consistency make him priceless.
Come April 17, expect the coronation of the most exciting youngster in English football with the laurel that he greatly deserves for his excellent, mature, creative and solid displays.