The PFA Young Player of the Year is a prestigious award given to a player aged 23 or under at the start of the season for his performances throughout that campaign.
The award has been won by some of the greatest players of their generation, which includes Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard, to name a few.
Last season, Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is regarded as one of the best full-backs in the game, was awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Five players who could win the 2020-21 PFA Young Player of the Year award:
This season, there have been some spectacular performances from young players, who are already established names despite their young years. On that note, let’s take a look at the top five contenders for this season’s PFA Young Player of the Year award.
#5 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Bukayo Saka before an Arsenal game
Bukayo Saka before an Arsenal game
Arsenal have endured a poor campaign in 2020-21 across all competitions.
However, the emergence of Emile Smith Rowe and the form of Bukayo Saka can be counted among the few positives in an otherwise dismal season for Arsenal. Saka is undeniably a player with high potential and has often been the difference for the Gunners this season.
— Bukayo Saka (@BukayoSaka87) April 27, 2021
The 19-year old has been a consistent presence this season for Mikel Arteta’s team. The dribbling ability and creativity of Saka, who is capable of operating in various forward positions, have particularly stood out.
The England international, who can also play as a left wing-back, has made 28 Premier League appearances this season, scoring five goals and providing two assists.
#4 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
After a poor start to their league campaign, questions were asked about Manchester United and their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, the Red Devils are now second in the league table and in the final of the UEFA Europa League. There have been some stellar performances, with Marcus Rashford being one of their star players.
The 23-year old has been a key cog in attack for the Red Devils, with his pace and dribbling ability creating problems to opposition defences.
Marcus Rashford is the first Manchester United player to score 20+ goals in consecutive seasons since Wayne Rooney in 2010 🌟 pic.twitter.com/R3cyTulA1t
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 8, 2021
Rashford has struggled with injuries this season. But when he has been on the field, though, his impact is visible.
The England international has predominantly played as a left winger this season, although he has also been used as a striker and on the right wing as well.
The forward has made 33 league appearances this season, scoring 10 goals and providing eight assists.
#3 Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Thanks to his recent performances for Manchester City, especially in the UEFA Champions League, Phil Foden is widely regarded as one of the best young players in the game alongside Kylian Mbappe and Erling Braut Haaland.
It looked like the 2020-21 Champions League was the story of Mbappe and Haaland.
20-year-old Phil Foden scored two and assisted another as Manchester City eliminated both teams.
The future is bright 🌟 pic.twitter.com/8IpDl6P87m
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 5, 2021
The England international, a product of the Manchester City academy, has been in sensational form this season. Thanks to his versatility, Foden, who is highly creative and is a good passer, has been utilised in various midfield and attacking positions by his manager Pep Guardiola.
The 20-year old is already regarded as a future superstar. Manchester City are arguably the best team in Europe right now, and Foden is one of the stars of the star-studded team despite his young years.Foden has made 25 Premier League appearances this season, scoring seven goals and providing five assists.
#2 Mason Mount (Chelsea)
When Chelsea signed players like Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz last summer, it was thought that Mason Mount would become a bench player at Chelsea.
However, Mount is now one of the first names on the team sheet, and his performances have earned him accolades from all and sundry. The England international is undroppable on current form, and it is evident why Frank Lampard, current Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and England boss Gareth Southgate regard him highly.
A versatile and creative player, Mount is capable of playing in midfield as well as in attack. A good passer, the 22-year old is a hard worker who has rose through the ranks in the Chelsea academy.
It looks likely that Mount could play a key role at the Euros this summer for England. This season, he has made 33 Premier League appearances, scoring six goals and providing five assists.
#1 Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
Manchester City’s search for a centre-back last summer was well-publicised, with the club linked heavily with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.
Eventually, they decided to sign Ruben Dias from Benfica for a fee of £61.5 million. The Portugal international had been linked with Tottenham Hotspur before, but few clubs could match the fee Manchester City paid for the centre-back.
Ruben Dias: Premier League Player of the Season? 🥇
If not, then who? 👇 pic.twitter.com/UJJm8u6A8A
— Goal (@goal) May 8, 2021
Almost a season later, Dias is no regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the game. His impact at Manchester City has been compared to that of Virgil van Dijk’s at Liverpool as Dias has emerged as one of the favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year award this year.
Manchester City are on the cusp of winning the Premier League this season and have a UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea coming up as well. If they win both, Dias could be a contender for the Ballon d’Or award too.
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