The nominations for the Premier League young player of the season award have thrown up the usual suspects; Dele Alli and Harry Kane are accompanied by Romelu Lukaku, whilst Burnley’s Michael Keane and Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford also get the nod along with Manchester City new boy Leroy Sane.
While everybody has their opinion, it seems that Dele Alli is the favourite to pick the award up for the current season, with the Tottenham midfielder in fine form throughout the campaign, as he, along with Harry Kane look to be steering their side to a berth in the Champions League next season.
While he would be a worthy winner, there are some, with Gary Neville in particular, saying that the award should actually go to Leroy Sane this year, and here is why:
Sane on the other hand has been able to aid his team in a number of different ways because he is a winger, not a centre-attacking midfielder that is able to consistently get on the ball in and around the box. Sane, though, must be contented with running down the channels, creating space for those in the middle, before crossing.
That is why the stats are not always the perfect barometer of the best player. In Pep Guardiola’s side, there have been no end of moving pieces. The defence has been cited as ever-changing, but the forwards have not been exempt from this either.
Raheem Sterling and Jesus Navas have been utilised out wide with Sane, while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been used on the wing too. It all means that there has been little or no consistency at Manchester City, something that does not help the development of a young player.
For Alli in his first season, he was playing in a settled side with a manger that was already well underway with his plan. He made 33 appearances in midfield, with the only changes being whether he played in deep, central or attacking midfield.
In conjunction with this, it is Sane’s first season in a league that is notoriously difficult for newcomers. David de Gea, the man many tout as the best goalkeeper in the world took a number of seasons to adjust, whereas Sane has done so almost immediately.
Gary Neville said on Sane:
It’s between Dele Alli and Leroy Sane, but with Alli we know him and he’s been in the league for a couple of seasons. For Sane to come into the league and make the impact he has, it looks like he’s going to be really special.
Most will say that Alli is the most deserving winner of the award and, on goals and assists with overall performances, it is difficult to argue against that. However, Sane’s achievements this year should not be sniffed at, with the German winger fast proving himself a real star.
He may not have broken the net with goals this year, but he has been a major part of Guardiola’s debut season and, at just 21, he has done something that more experienced players have failed to do, settle in the Premier League.