Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# Overlooked
6 alternative candidates for the PFA Player of the Year
Seamus Coleman and Fernandinho among others feature on our list.

Updated at 16.59

1. Fernandinho

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Sunderland - Etihad Stadium PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

YAYA TOURE EARNED a PFA nomination this year, however his central midfield partner was arguably just as important to City.

Fernandinho was certainly not quite as impressive as Toure going forward, as five goals in 28 appearances attests.

However, the Brazilian was still integral to City — on the rare occasions he didn’t play, the team invariably suffered, with their lack of defensive cover in midfield conspicuous in his absence.

The 28-year-old provided the type of energy in the middle of the park that Gareth Barry previously failed to show, and did the type of unseen work that his midfield partner rarely relishes.

2. Jordan Henderson

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Liverpool - Old Trafford Mike Egerton Mike Egerton

Having been close to moving to Fulham before this season, the 23-year-old has now undergone an impressive rejuvenation and belatedly began to justify the reported £20 million transfer fee that took him to Liverpool from Sunderland.

A measure of how highly regarded the player has become can be ascertained by the number of games he’s played for Liverpool since the start of the campaign.

Before being sent off at the end of the game against Manchester City, Henderson just missed 22 minutes all season (being brought off in the match against Norwich).

Furthermore, their game away to Tottenham in December appears to have been a watershed moment for the England midfielder. There were doubts over whether they’d cope without injured skipper Steven Gerrard, however, Liverpool subsequently secured an emphatic 5-0 victory and Henderson thrived.

3. John Terry

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Chelsea v Paris Saint-Germain - Stamford Bridge PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Terry perhaps wouldn’t have been the most popular choice for the PFA, but he should at least make the Team of the Year based on his performances this season.

The defensive star has been involved in 32 of Chelsea’s 34 games, hence at 33-years-old, there are still few signs of weakness or fatigue in his game.

In a team “without strikers,” as Jose Mourinho is fond of reminding us, he has marshaled a defence that has conceded just 24 goals — comfortably the best out of all this season’s Premier League teams.

Consequently, like all great Mourinho sides, Chelsea are built on a solid backbone, with Terry in particular being the epitome of their strengths.

4. Seamus Coleman

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Sunderland v Everton - Stadium of Light PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Irrespective of what happens between now and the end of the season, Everton have performed above expectations.

Seamus Coleman is one of the players whose personal development has mirrored that of the team’s.

Always full of promise, the Irish international has surely fulfilled his potential this year, with a series of influential performances.

Manager Roberto Martinez deserves much credit for adopting a system that plays to Coleman’s strengths, which relies upon deep-lying midfielders such as James McCarthy providing cover whenever he goes on one of his characteristic marauding runs forward.

This transformation has undoubtedly paid off, with Coleman recording a personal best record of six goals so far this campaign — of all the league’s defenders, only Martin Skrtel has claimed more.

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5. Jay Rodriguez

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Fulham v Southampton - Craven Cottage John Walton John Walton

A knee injury has unfortunately ended his season prematurely, but even that cannot take the shine off what has been a fantastic season for Jay Rodriguez.

For a club of modest ambitions such as Southampton, 15 goals in 33 appearances is an exceptional return.

Moreover, the record is a stark improvement on last season, when he managed just six goals in 35 appearances.

Eighth place, where the Saints currently sit, is surely about as good as it’s likely to get for a club of their modest ambitions and resources, and Rodriguez has played a big part in this success.

6. Petr Cech

Britain Soccer Champions League Matt Dunham Matt Dunham

Quiet consistency is something that’s often ignored in Premier League football, so it’s no big surprise that Cech didn’t make this year’s PFA shortlist

The 31-year-old has featured in all 34 of Chelsea’s games this season, and has barely put a foot wrong in any of them.

Cech, who has earned 107 caps for the Czech Republic, is also near the top of the ‘most saves’ list, while being an often underappreciated part of a Chelsea defence that has conceded less goals than any other team in the league.

Surely therefore, he must now be considered as being among the great goalkeepers in English footballing history.

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