PFA Player Of The Year Nominations: Gareth Bale, Charlie Adam, Samir Nasri, Scott Parker, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Nemanja Vidic, Carlos Tevez.

What a scintillating season of football it has been in England. Unexpected twists and turns, rises and falls; a season that would give rise to new stars and shift the limelight onto those who are budding talents. Rivalries apart, no English football fanatic would have been disappointed with the path this season has taken and the time has now come to crown the King of the pitch. We, at TheHardTackle, have reviewed the candidates shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, and have evaluated their chances of clinching one of the most elite awards in English Football this year.

PFA Player of the Year Nominations

Charlie Adam – his set-pieces are worth their weight in gold.

Charlie Adam: Competing in the Premier League is no walk in the park. And, for a team to get promoted from a lower division and enter top flight with immense grit and determination is something credible. Such is the ethos of Blackpool and one man is the epitome of the same – Charlie Adam. It is not just this season that has seen the 25-year-old’s stock rise. Adam was pivotal in Blackpool’s success in the Championship last season and his performances percolated into the Premier League.

Mid-way through the season, Adam was a much coveted player and was amidst a winter transfer tussle between Liverpool and his home club. However, Ian Holloway stuck to his guns and won the fight to keep Charlie. Thereafter, Charlie let his football do the talking and it is no surprise that such a player has won a nomination for Player of the Year. He faces fierce competition but the important thing to be noted here is that for a player from a mid-table club to be nominated for a top award sets the player a class apart in the first place. Irrespective of whether he wins PFA award or not, Charlie Adam has already won the hearts of thousands of Blackpool fans.

Scott Parker: West Ham United is now in the 18th spot and is flirting with relegation. Given the vicissitudes of this Premier League season, one cannot check the Hammers into relegation so soon. And Scott Parker has played no cameo to help prevent a sinking ship. His heroics have time and again proved his worth as captain and it is only right that he be nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award.

Captain Fantastic!

“There are some outstanding midfielders in the Premier League but I would vote for him if I could because, in a difficult season, he stands out. He scores goals, he sets people up to score, he makes tackles – he’s an all-round midfield player.” – Thomas Hitzelberger

It is not just his ubiquitous presence on the pitch that accounts for his inclusion in these nominations. Parker is a captain in the dressing room as well. It has been reported that Scott took the onus onto himself to deliver the half time team talk when his side was down 3-0 against West Brom earlier this year. Now nobody really knows what he said but West Ham went on to draw the game 3-3. Scott Parker surely does have the mettle and the confidence that transcends through to his team. What more could one ask for, from a captain?

West Ham’s captain fantastic surely is going to give the other players a good run for their money and if the Hammers do survive relegation this season, Parker is surely going to be a hero at Upton Park.

Samir Nasri: Arsenal is no doubt a great team to watch. And the credit for all this praise does go to Arsene Wenger no doubt. However, this season, Samir Nasri has taken the game to a different level for the Gunners. Arsenal have always come within touching distance of the title over the past few seasons but this time, they are closer than ever and few would deny that Nasri has made it happen.

The French Wizard.

Fabregas’ sporadic absence this season meant that somebody else had to rise to the occasion and make a difference on the pitch. Nasri is not only a natural fit in Arsenal’s game but is also one of those players who always realizes the gravity of any situation and goes that extra mile to make the difference and win the game for the club. And, it is this attitude that has regressed into his teammates. A true influence on the pitch and a player who is always ready to give more than 100% for the club, Nasri’s inclusion in the list of nominees for the PFA award is nothing but right.

This 23-year old player from France has displayed many eye-catching performances this season that have helped him earn a spot on the PFA Young Player of the Year nomination list too. Arsene’s eye for young talent has surely paid off and Nasri is nothing but the icing on the cake.

Nemanja Vidic: Time and again he has proved his worth at club and national level. This imposing figure, safeguarding the Manchester United goal, surely deserves to contest for the PFA award this year. Vidic has hit fine form this season and his presence has always made a stark difference to United’s defensive power.

Nemanja has been the lynchpin in United’s successes so far this season and surely deserves to stand out as the one player who has helped them progress in all competitions. Vidic has also scored four times in the league this season and has missed just two games in the league. The added responsibility of captaining the side was never going to be easy for the Serb, but with a touch of class and composure Vidic has handled the new role with aplomb. This makes him a very strong contender for the PFA award this year. The Premier League hasn’t been easy on any of the teams this season, and every single player has had to work hard to earn points for the club. Going by that notion, Vidic has certainly surpassed Sir Alex Ferguson’s expectations and will continue to raise the bar at the Theatre of Dreams.

From friends to foes, but still heart-beat of their respective teams.

Carlos Tevez: “Money Can Buy Power” they say. The Arab millions have surely picked up top quality talents from all over Europe but none has shone has brightly as Carlos Tevez. The 27-year old Argentine has created waves ever since he arrived in the Premier League. First he helped West Ham survive relegation, then he played a vital role in Manchester United’s title clinching seasons and now, he has won the hearts of plenty in the blue half of Manchester. The club and country captain did raise a few eyebrows during the season when he seemed disillusioned, and wanted to return to his family back home, but then took a U-turn.

His valiant efforts might not bear fruit if City were hoping to lift the Premier League title this year but he might have done just about enough to park them in the top 4 bracket, which means Champions League football next season. With 19 goals and 6 assists so far this season, Tevez is going to be tough competition to fight off, for the rest of the nominees.

Rafael Van der Vaart: The former Real Madrid player scored 9 goals in his first 12 Premier League games, and was thereby adjudged Player of the Month for the month of October. Rafael Van der Vaart was certainly the rose amongst the Lilywhites.

With such mileage, the Dutchman hardly took time to settle into the English game and developed a beautiful, telepathic understanding with Tottenham’s attack force. So quick was his transition, that it dismissed all claims of the usual dogma of how new player requires time to settle into the Premier League. At no point did it look like VDV was not cut out for the English game.

However, the success curve was about to bend a wee bit in the wrong direction for Van der Vaart. Fatigue and a few minor injuries in the second half of the season played a spoilsport. He has completed just 8 of the 28 matches that he has started – a fact Van der Vaart would not be proud of. Nonetheless, he has been inspirational in driving the Tottenham truck into Europe’s elite competition, but couldn’t prevent his team from being knocked out at the hands of Madrid.

The lethal duo.

Gareth Bale: The list of nominees was never going to be complete without the inclusion of this man – Gareth Bale. The Welshman is a world-class player whose rise to prominence has been only due to his meandering yet scintillating plays on the left flank. It has taken him less than year to prove himself as a threat to any team, in any competition.

It all looks like a story for this Welshman. He was never considered a prospective player when he signed on for Spurs. However, this season, his performances in the domestic and European competitions have been so good that nominating him for the PFA Player of the Year category was never going to be enough, and it is no surprise that his name has been listed for the PFA Young Player of the Year category too.

“To my mind, he’s now up there with the best in the world. There’s nobody better.” – Michael Dawson

Who do you think deserves to win the PFA Player of the Year award this season?