The PFA Young Players’ Player of the Year isn’t that much more an inferior award than its senior sibling. The honour has been dished out to the finest talents the Premier League has ever seen, including the likes of Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and even James Milner (yes, Milner was young once). Who’s the bookies’ favourite to win this year?
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool
Trent Alexander-Arnold is having a couple of seasons that few full-backs have ever enjoyed. With ten assists so far this season - he recorded 12 last year - the youngster is an integral cog in Jurgen Klopp’s machine and a key reason for Liverpool being able to break down deep blocks with so much more ease in the last eighteen months.
Trent is already a European and world champion at the age of 21. He was the youngest member of the World Cup squad that was taken to Russia and he’s often the youngest player in the Reds’ line-up on any given matchday. Winning the PFA Young Player of the Year would be the cherry on a historic campaign for his boyhood club.
Tammy Abraham, Chelsea
It’s fair to assume that Tammy Abraham would never have been given the no. 9 shirt for Chelsea, had the club not been banned from signing anyone last summer. The young striker has seized his opportunity though, netting 13 goals so far this campaign and becoming one of the stars of a young Chelsea side chasing top four.
Abraham’s breakout top-flight season follows a stellar loan spell at Aston Villa too, where he became the first player since 1977 to score 25 goals for the club in one season. With Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane both injured at the moment, the striker could fancy himself to nab a spot starting for England at the Euros this summer - he could do so as the PFA’s choice for their star performer on these shores under 24.
Mason Mount, Chelsea
After signing a deal last July to keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2024, Mason Mount has been one of the success stories of Chelsea’s season and could be another choice for Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020.
This season, Mount has been a key figure in the Chelsea side that’s risen up the table under Frank Lampard, recently assisting Antonio Rudiger twice in the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Leicester. Mount has also won his first England caps this season - he represented his country at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 level - and has scored his first international goal.
Mount also starred for Frank Lampard’s Derby County side last season on loan, helping the rams to the play-off final, where they were defeated by Villa.
James Maddison, Leicester
Leicester might be the surprise package of the year - to some, at least - but James Maddison has been predictably metronomic in the heart of the Foxes’ midfield, helping the club into the top four and winning his first England cap this season.
The midlands-born 23-year-old has shone for Brendan Rodgers’ side this season, scoring against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, and forming a formidable trio with Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi. Since joining from Norwich last season, Maddison has become the centrepiece to Leicester’s team, and his influence is only likely to grow as the season continues.
Jack Grealish, Aston Villa
Jack Grealish has already experienced an FA Cup final with Aston Villa - he was on the losing side in 2014 - a relegation the following season and subsequent promotion all before the age of 24. He’s captain of his boyhood club and has faced controversy both on and off the pitch - but now the captain of the Villains in the Premier League, he’s been the standout star for the side this season.
Grealish has led by example, scoring nine goals in all competitions in the top flight and registering seven assists, leading Villa to the League Cup final on the way. An outside shot at the PFA Young Player of the Year, he could be in with a chance of sweeping the gong and could still help Villa clear of relegation, too.
Marcus Rashford, Manchester United
Marcus Rashford has been making his name as a future star of the game years, having scored on his Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, League Cup, England senior and England U21 debuts.
Incredibly, Rashford is still only 22. With Manchester United having sold Romelu Lukaku in the summer, the striker has stepped up to lead the Old Trafford line and has inherited the no. 10 shirt at Old Trafford. Before injury, he was enjoying his best goalscoring season for United, having scored over 21 goals for club and country, and starred against the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City.
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