With the 2020/21 Premier League season coming to an end, The Hard Tackle takes a look at the three best English players of the recently-concluded campaign.
The past twelve months have been laden with intense footballing action. With the world coming to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, the 2019/20 season had resumed around June in most top leagues. Since then, teams across Europe – and especially in the Premier League – have been in relentless action, getting only around a couple of weeks’ break in essence.
The season gone by was indeed the most hectic Premier League campaign of all time, with teams participating in more midweek games than ever before. However, despite the intense action, there were several players who stood apart and were shining bright like a diamond.
Several of these were fresh arrivals in the Premier League while some were young gems that were unearthed by different clubs. However, many of those who made quite an impression have already been a part of the fabric of the Premier League for some time now, with several being homegrown, hailing from England.
In this feature, we will take a look at three of the best English performers in the 2020/21 Premier League season. So, without any further ado, The Hard Tackle presents the three best English players of the campaign gone by.
Let us get the obvious one out of the way first. Who else, but Harry Kane to have been the best performer, not just among English players but across all nationalities in the Premier League this season. In fact, despite Tottenham not being a part of even the top four, the English international is a major contender to win the Player of the Year in the Premier League this term.
Indeed, such has been the sheer impact made by Kane that simply on the basis of tangible contribution, he is far and away the best player in the Premier League at the moment. The England captain did not only win the Golden Boot with 23 goals to his name, but also ended up lifting the Playmaker award for providing a league-high 14 assists.
In fact, with his cumulative tally of 37, Kane ended up directly contributing to over half the goals that Tottenham scored over the course of the 2020/21 Premier League season. However, their lowly seventh-placed finish means that Kane is now being linked with a number of top clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United.
As for matters on the pitch, Kane was a play par excellence in the Premier League, leading the top-flight in goals, assists, goals+assists per 90 minutes and non-penalty xG, Just in a league of his own in 2020/21, and in his own words, his best is yet to come. Could it be delivered at the UEFA Euro 2020 with England?
The second name on our list is that of a player that not many would have given a chance to succeed in the 2020/21 season. After all, when Alex Telles arrived from FC Porto in the summer transfer window, conventional wisdom suggested that Luke Shaw was nearing the end of his time as the first-choice left-back for Manchester United.
What transpired over the course of the Premier League campaign, though, was something truly special. For Shaw did not only step up after the arrival of a bonafide competitor for his spot, he ended up outperforming even the best of full-backs in the English top-flight, with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Ben Chilwell lagging behind.
Indeed, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson were the only other defenders in the top ten of the key passes list for the season while Shaw also ranked joint-second in the Premier League for carries into the final third. At the same time, the English international excelled on the defensive front, ranking well inside the top ten for successful pressures percentage.
Therefore, it was hardly a surprise that Shaw was adjudged to be Manchester United’s Players’ Player of the Year. After all, 2020/21 was truly a season of the Shaw Renaissance, one which is set to end with the 25-year-old’s participation with England at the UEFA Euro 2020, possibly as the first-choice left-back.
Last but not the least is a player who has proven to be one of the best young players in the Premier League. Coming off an impressive breakthrough campaign with Chelsea last term, Mount ended up being absolutely sensational for the Blues in 2020/21.
After the arrival of the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, many would have thought that one of the players to suffer a great deal would be Mount. The English international, though, ended up becoming the first name on the team, not only for his mentor Frank Lampard but also his successor, Thomas Tuchel.
Such was the 22-year-old’s impact that he was adjudged to be the Chelsea Player of the Year, and for good reason. Not only was Mount by far the most creative and consistent performer for the Blues, but the English international was also comparable with his counterparts in the Premier League on xA, key passes (only Bruno Fernandes played more), through balls, shot creation actions and even pressures, while topping the league in carries into the final third.
With such an excellent catalog of the end product of his performances, it is fair to say that Mount is one of the fastest-growing players in the Premier League, with the English midfielder now well and truly a pivotal figure for Chelsea after a season to remember, and player that the lads at the academy are sure to look up to.
Honourable Mentions: Patrick Bamford, John Stones, Marcus Rashford
While Harry Kane, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount impressed, there were a few others made their mark as well, and only narrowly missed out on the final list. Patrick Bamford, in particular, splendid on his return to the Premier League, surprising one and all with his season-ending tally of 17 goals – the joint-fourth-highest.
John Stones, meanwhile, resurrected his career superbly by forging a solid central defensive partnership with Ruben Dias at Manchester City, who benefited immensely from the duo’s displays en route to the Premier League title. Finally, Marcus Rashford has continued to go from strength to strength, battling a spate of fitness issues to be a constant for Manchester United while growing in stature.