It is football’s equivalent of Oscar Season; that time of year when the gongs are handed out and the focus is on individuals rather than teams. It is a process, says Arsene Wenger, that deflects from the team ethic required in professional football. Still, with two nominations, David de Gea is the only Manchester United player up for one of the PFA’s top awards this year. As the country’s outstanding goalkeeper, he deserves it too.
Despite the double nomination for both the PFA Player of the Year and Young PotY awards De Gea is unlikely to win either gong when the winners are announced on 26 April – they are likely to go to Eden Hazard and Harry Kane. Yet, De Gea’s rise over the past four years from nervous 19-year-old newly arrived from Atletico Madrid to one of the three best ‘keepers in world football is surely complete.
Indeed, De Gea will be named as the Premier League’s best goalkeeper for the second time in four years. In truth it should be three, with Petr Cech edging out the United stopper in 2014 despite the Chelsea stopper’s indifferent year.
This season De Gea has frequently been the difference for United when the Reds conceded far too many chances amid some indifferent team performances over the autumn and winter months. He has also made mistakes though – recent goals conceded against Liverpool and Aston Villa were, in part, due to De Gea’s error.
There are also other candidates for United’s Player of the Year Award: Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young enjoy support among United’s global fanbase.