Manchester United's Luis Nani Should Be Player of the Year, Not Scott Parker
Scott Parker has been voted the 2011 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers' Association.
The West Ham midfielder is believed to have beaten off stiff competition from the likes of Nemanja Vidic, Jack Wilshere, Luis Nani and Gareth Bale—the latter having won this year's PFA Footballer of the Year award last week.
While no one would begrudge the likable Hammers midfielder the award—he has, after all, been the only ray of light at Upton Park this season—one must ask how Luis Nani of Manchester United did not win either the FWA or PFA award?
Make no mistake about it, Scott Parker has easily been West Ham's best player this season. Not a week goes by where he isn't named the Hammers' Man of the Match.
Such are his high level of performances this season that Fabio Capello has even decided to recall the 30-year-old to the England set-up after a five-year hiatus.
Like any fine wine, Parker has seemingly got better with age and is now playing at a high level with a consistency that few thought him capable of.
The combative central midfielder looks to have finally realised that he does not need to go for 50 and 60-yard passes to be noticed in a game.
If anything, he has strengthened his simplistic approach to the game with experience.
Now, instead of going for "the Beckham" and invariably losing possession, he goes for the simple pass and helps his team retain control of the ball.
He is now not afraid to play the game as he sees it and each decision on the ball is taken on its merits.
In short, with experience, he knows which passes to pick out and when to use them.
Such is Parker's good form this term that he is now constantly linked with a move away from the Hammers should they be relegated.
Recently, certain newspapers have linked the England midfielder with moves across London to Harry Redknapp's Tottenham Hotspur. He's also been linked to Arsenal as Cesc Fabregas' replacement, should the Gunners captain leave for Barcelona as expected this summer.
One of the few players to play for England at every level from U-15, Parker has always had a reputation as a tenacious midfielder.
Not afraid to put in a tackle or close his opposition down, and with good technical ability, he is now reaching the level that many thought had passed him years ago.
Steve Bates, Chairman of the Football Writers' Association, had the following to say about the Hammers star:
Scott Parker has been so consistent this season with his performances in a West Ham team battling for Barclay's Premier League survival and as such has forced himself back into the England national set-up.
He has been an inspirational figure for the Irons and hopefully his professionalism will be rewarded with West Ham staying up at the end of the season.
In what was one of the tightest votes of recent seasons, Scott is certainly a worthy winner and follows in the footsteps of a long line of superb footballers who have been given this prestigious honour.
There can be little doubt that Scott Parker has had a very good season and is held in high regard by his fellow players and journalists alike.
So why isn't Luis Nani?
The little Portugal star has always lived in Cristiano Ronaldo's shadow, but over the last year or two has begun to emerge as a real talent and power within the game.
Like Parker, experience has been key to Nani's improvement.
He's finally realised that he no longer has to outshine his teammates to be noticed or grab headlines.
Like Scott Parker, he has finally come to terms with the fact that the team are all important and always come first.
One of the first rules that any Manchester United player learns is self-sacrifice over self-preservation.
It has taken the 24-year-old four seasons at Old Trafford to learn this truth and 2010/11 has been the winger's most productive season yet.
There can be little doubt that Manchester United in 2011 are not as good as previous teams gone by. However, one thing they have perhaps more than any other of Sir Alex Ferguson's sides is character.
They simply do not know when to lie down. They never give up.
With such experience and togetherness, Nani has been given a platform to flourish this year and is easily the Red Devils' most consistent performer.
While Dimitar Berbatov flits in and out of the season like a fly chasing a light, while Wayne Rooney struggles to overcome his turbulent year; Luis Nani and Nemanja Vidic have come together to carry United towards yet another title—a record breaking one, at that.
This year, Nani has made a bigger contribution towards his team than any other player in the league.
His level of performances have been consistently high and he has weighed in with nine goals and 18 assists from 29 league games.
Considering that the Red Devils have played 33 games, this is some record.
To be quite frank, he has been the only creative spark in a United midfield that has certainly looked bereft of ideas at the most important of times.
Whether asked to play on either flank or through the middle as a supporting midfielder, Nani has shown a great level of maturity in this, his fourth season at Old Trafford.
He has proven himself to such an extent, in fact, that many now feel that the young winger is one of the very best in the world at his position.
There can be little doubt that Scott Parker has had a fantastic season, but Luis Nani has been just that little bit better.
This article was previously published on Premier League Report.
You can follow me on Twitter @WillieGannon
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