Thomas Rooney takes us through some of the candidates – and they’re not necessarily the ones you’d expect.
The FA have begun their annual search to find out who England fans rate as their player of the year for 2011. With the disappointment of 2010 well behind us, 2011 has certainly been a much brighter year for the national team, with renewed optimism about their hopes for Euro 2012.
Indeed, 2011 has been an unbeaten year for England â€“ a year when they played the likes of Spain, among other tricky opponents, it has been the year that they scored their 2000th goal, and above all, it was the year that they qualified for the European Championships. But who has been the star player among all that?
Surprisingly, the top scorer is not Rooney, Bent or indeed any striker, but rather Ashley Young, a midfielder. For him it has been a memorable year, for both club and country. Aside from getting his big move to Manchester United in the summer, he has notched four times for the national team, and has become one of the stars of Fabio Capello’s side.
Frank Lampard is another player who has been in amongst the England goals. He has three for the year â€“ two of which were from the penalty spot â€“ but has played an important role for the national team. There is no writing him off just yet.
Joe Hart has now established himself as England’s first choice goalkeeper, and has put in a number of impressive displays, including keeping a clean sheet against World Champions, Spain. He will certainly consider himself a contender.
Another player to consider would be Phil Jones. The youngster has made his international breakthrough, and looks likely to be one of the stars of the future for his country. In the games he has played, he has shown great composure for a man of his experience, and is certainly showing all the signs of potential that England fans like to see.
In total, however, there are 32 candidates running for the award, and it would be impossible to make a case for all of them. For me however, the honour surely has to go to Young. Not only has he outscored all the strikers, but has been an essential cog in the works of the England midfield.
He is a player who is confident of his own abilities, and absolutely appears to have it all. He can shoot, he can pass, he can beat a man. He can play down the right, down the left, or in behind the strikers. Add to that a fantastic work rate, and you have a top player.
So take your time, play poker games and make your decision on Englandâ€™s player of the year!
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