The 2021/22 PFA Players’ Player of the Year nominees have been announced with the winner of the past two seasons Kevin De Bruyne among the leading candidates.
The Belgian is one of just three players in the history of the award to seal it in consecutive seasons, alongside Thierry Henry between 2003 and 2004, and Cristiano Ronaldo between 2007 and 2008. He will be itching to become the first player to win it three times on the spin.
The 30-year-old enjoyed another stellar campaign as Manchester City avoided a final day collapse to win the Premier League title and reach the Champions League semi-finals, boasting his best scoring numbers with 15 in the league and 19 overall.
Despite finishing the season as runners-up, Liverpool have three players in the shortlist, including Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk, who collectively worked wonders to secure Jurgen Klopp’s men a domestic cup double and a European final appearance.
The Reds won both the FA Cup and League Cup, and reached the Champions League final where they just lost out to Real Madrid in Paris. Salah, winner of the award in 2017/18, finished the campaign as the Golden Boot winner (23 goals) and top assist provider (13 assists).
Mane was equally as influential for the Reds as he finished as the club’s second-highest scorer overall with 23 goals in all competitions (netting 16 in the Premier League). On a personal level he also won Senegal the nation’s first-ever Afcon to mark a memorable year for the forward.
Van Dijk is also a previous winner of the award, scooping the annual gong in 2018/19, and three years on, his influence is certainly not on the wane. The 30-year-old was the only outfield player to start at least 50 games for Liverpool this season, underlining his consistency and importance in Klopp’s system.
Harry Kane also made the shortlist after Tottenham secured an unlikely Premier League top-four finish right at the death. The England international finished fourth in the Golden Boot race with 17 goals and also racked up an impressive nine assists.
Finally Cristiano Ronaldo rolled back the years as he finished third in the Golden Boot race with 18 goals, an impressive feat considering the circumstance surrounding Manchester United’s highly inconsistent season. Ronaldo didn’t let that affect his output in the final third as only Salah and Son Heung-Min finished with more goals than him.