Unless you are Aston Villa (sorry, had to get that in there), it’s coming up to that time of the year again when one player from our beloved clubs is going to be crowned Player of the Season.
I have already seen a few articles doing the rounds recently on who should be given the accolade of the Baggies’ best player, so I thought I would chip in with what players have impressed me the most this season and who I think should bag the prestigious award.
I have picked out four players who I think should be in contention for winning the award and selected one overall who I think is definitely deserved of it.
As already stated, I have seen quite a few ‘Player of the Season’ articles doing the rounds on social media and in the local press of late, and one thing that has surprised me is not seeing this man being considered. A season and a half ago he had never started a game at right-back, but roll on 18 months and it’s safe to say he has made that position his own.
Fierce in the tackle; a superb work ethic and great in the air, the only thing holding him back from being the complete package is his ability when going forward. Manager Tony Pulis and the coaches are obviously impressed with his input, with the former Rochdale man signing a new contract a month or so back, which was fully deserved in my opinion. There have even been whispers of an England call-up. A bit premature? Definitely, but if he can improve in attack next season, then I wouldn’t put it past him.
Still baffles me as to why there wasn’t more competition for his signature. Could easily be playing for a top seven club in my opinion and is hands down better than some of Manchester United’s current crop of defenders, but am I complaining? Hell no! Evans has been superb since signing for Albion, forming a top notch partnership with Northern Irish compatriot Gareth McAuley.
His ‘Fergie upbringing’ is clearly evident and Pulis deserves major kudos for convincing him that the Baggies were the club for him (I suspect Darren Fletcher had a part to play also). Only recently turning 28, Evans has plenty of playing time ahead of him and I seriously hope the majority of that is spent with the club, as if we are to progress and turn ourselves into a Premier League force, we need to keep hold of him and improve the quality around him.
It’s safe to say that in the upcoming weeks there won’t be many defensive midfielders winning Player of the Season awards. It’s an unfashionable position and one that goes unnoticed by many, but one person who definitely appreciates its importance is boss Pulis. Yacob has been a mainstay of the manager’s team since his arrival and has arguably been the most consistent performer in Pulis’ time at the club.
Edging ever closer to legendary status, the fiery Argentinian puts his body on the line in every match, nullifying countless attacks and making endless last ditch tackles. His distribution isn’t the best, but what he lacks in passing ability he more than makes up for in effort and is undoubtedly a vital member of this team. If he can learn to adapt his game slightly when we are playing at home and are on the front foot, then I feel we will be in possession of one of the Premier League’s best defensive midfielders.
Darren Fletcher – My Player of the Season
If Fletcher doesn’t pick up this season’s Player of the Season award, then I will eat my hat! I doubt there are many Baggies fans out there who would argue that our skipper supreme isn’t this campaign’s stand out performer. I have lost count the amount of times he has single handily grabbed a game by the scruff of its neck and made sure the team has left the field with points on the board.
Much like Evans, the club did wonders in bringing him to the Hawthorns, fighting off competition from the likes of West Ham United and Celtic, and they must also be praised for his rehabilitation back into a 38+ games a season player again.
What has impressed me most with Fletcher is his ability to break down play and quickly turn it into attack. If I was to look back at the goals we have scored this season, I bet a good proportion of them were set in motion by Fletcher. A great player and a super captain. A class act who we are lucky to have within our ranks.