When it comes to making a shortlist for the Premier League Player of the Season, it’s always going to be subjective.
The metrics by which each player is measured can’t always be the same owing to their position on the pitch and/or the minutes they’ve had across the season etc.
Further, does one define a player’s value by trophies won or importance to the team?
There are many different variants and that’s why picking four or five players is a notoriously difficult task.
For this reason, the likes of Mason Greenwood, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Christian Pulisic and others don’t find themselves on this particular list.
So, who did make it…
Still the main man at Old Trafford and the player above all others that drives Manchester United on when the chips are down.
A powerhouse of a midfielder despite not being particularly stocky, when Fernandes is on it, he sets the tempo and the entire way of playing from front to back.
He never seems to go missing in games and appears to thrive on the responsibility of keeping things ticking over and then exploding into life at just the right moment.
Leading by example week in and week out, his goals are almost incidental to what else he brings to the team.
That he has double digits in goals and assists, added to his all-round play, is nothing short of sensational.
It’s just a pity from United’s point of view that noisy neighbours Man City have been so far ahead of the rest again this season, or else you feel that Fernandes could’ve spearheaded the Red Devils to a first title since the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
There’s not too much doubt as to Tottenham’s talisman being the most complete striker the English top-flight has seen since the days of Alan Shearer.
The partnership that Kane has struck up with Son Heung-min has been delightful to watch, as has the single-minded way in which the England man approaches every game.
Fluffing his lines in the Carabao Cup final shouldn’t take away from his excellence throughout the current Premier League campaign.
A season in which he’s been putting in a shift at the coal face in every game. Goals, assists, work-rate and desire… Kane has it all.
No wonder Europe’s biggest teams are testing the water as far as a summer transfer goes.
It’s interesting that for large parts of the season Mount’s performances have gone under the radar.
He’s performed at the top level for both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel and has arguably been amongst Chelsea’s most consistent players this season.
His importance won’t necessarily be measured in goals and assists (8 and 7 respectively in 48 games in all competitions), but his overall stats compare very favourably indeed.
By way of example, if compared to Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish, Mount has the most ball recoveries, has lost possession on the least number of occasions, has the best passing accuracy (86.85%), has made the most tackles, blocks and interceptions as well as contesting the most duels.
Not bad for a 22-year-old.
Whether Rice really is the ‘new Bobby Moore’ or not is a moot point at this stage.
What is crystal clear is the ease with which he has assumed the captaincy from Mark Noble and led West Ham from the front in their best campaign since they finished third in 1985/86.
The Hammers will certainly find it hard to hold onto the England international, and it’s hard to believe that, like best friend Mount, he’s still just 22 years of age.
His maturity on the pitch speaks of an experienced pro, with Rice certainly an old head on young shoulders.
He has impressed in all facets of his game in 2020/21 and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him following in his contemporary Moore’s footsteps as England captain if his trajectory continues on an upward curve.
When Manchester City announced the record £64.3m signing of Dias from Benfica, more than a few eyebrows were raised.
How would he fare in a more physical league? Would he be able to keep up with the pace of the game? How was his aerial game and could he play out from the back in Pep’s system?
All of those questions and more have been answered emphatically.
Frankly, Ruben Dias is a world class defensive exponent, and a major reason why the Citizens are still challenging in Europe.
Only last week he showed up against, supposedly, the deadliest striking duo on the continent, but Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were reduced to feeding off scraps, such was Dias’ dominance at the back.
A real coup for Guardiola and the Premier League.
So... Who Wins?
From a personal point of view, I can’t look further than Bruno Fernandes to take the gong, however.
For his importance to his team, his consistency throughout the season and the way in which he has transformed Manchester United, the Portuguese gets my vote.