Premier League title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City dominate the six-man shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association men’s Player of the Year award, with Virgil van Dijk and Raheem Sterling the front-runners. Last year’s winner Mohamed Salah is not nominated this season.
Centre-back Van Dijk joins Reds teammate Sadio Mané on the list, while England forward Sterling is included alongside fellow City players Sergio Agüero and Bernardo Silva. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard completes the nominees for the 2018-19 campaign, with the winner scheduled to be announced on Sunday 28 April at the annual awards ceremony in London.
For the women’s award, last year’s winner Fran Kirby – who has been hit by a string of injuries this season – does not make the shortlist. Manchester City trio Steph Houghton, Nikita Parris and Keira Walsh are among the nominees this time around, alongside the Chelsea duo Erin Cuthbert and Ji So-yun, and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema.
Dutch forward Miedema, the Women’s Super League top scorer with 20 goals, Walsh and Cuthbert are also nominated for the women’s Young Player of the Year award, along with City forward Georgia Stanway, West Ham striker Alisha Lehmann and Bristol City goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley. Players aged 23 or under at the beginning of the season are eligible.
There will be a new name on the men’s Young Player of the Year award. City duo Sterling and Silva, both now 24, also make this shortlist as they hope to succeed their teammate Leroy Sané in taking the prize. They are joined in that category by Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Bournemouth winger David Brooks and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford.
Van Dijk, signed from Southampton for £75m in January 2018, has been an ever-present rock at the heart of the Premier League’s tightest defence this campaign, helping Liverpool keep 18 clean sheets and concede only 20 times.
Senegal international Mané has also enjoyed a stellar season for Jürgen Klopp’s side, hitting 18 league goals as the Anfield club attempt to end a 29-year wait to be champions.
Sterling is currently the bookmakers’ second favourite for the award behind 27-year-old Van Dijk and has been key for Pep Guardiola’s defending champions.
Argentinian striker Agüero, City’s record goalscorer, has enjoyed another prolific season, while Portuguese Silva has become increasingly influential at the club under Guardiola. Hazard, who won the men’s award in 2015, has to date been directly involved in more top-flight goals than any other player this term, scoring 16 and setting up 12 for Maurizio Sarri’s Blues.
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