Is Steven Gerrard really the player of the season?
The Liverpool player has had a great season, but a Manchester United star should surely have triumphed in the football writers’ awards
Congratulations, Steven Gerrard, for winning the prestigious football writers’ Footballer of the Year award," writes Matt Lawton, chief football correspondant of the Daily Mail. Your performances have been consistently excellent for a Liverpool side "that has provided the only serious challenge to Manchester United this season".
"Charming, courteous and intelligent, Gerrard deserves recognition and it was heartening to hear yesterday how he regards the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) award as the ultimate accolade," continues Lawton, of the player once described as "the most influential player in English football" by Sir Alex Ferguson. And yet...
Gerrard was up against Frank Lampard of Chelsea and six Manchester United players in the last eight. "Six Manchester United players who might yet end this season as the first team to retain the Champions League trophy they won so memorably in Moscow last May.
"Who, barring a Devon Loch-style collapse, will soon be celebrating a third successive Barclays Premier League title, having already lifted the Carling Cup and been crowned world champions in the last six months." Does Gerrard's likely trophyless season really trump the achievements of these six players?
"Seasons like this expose a flaw in a one-man, one-vote system, as they did in 1999 when the majority of votes were spread across the United side that won the treble but David Ginola ended up on top.
"I didn’t vote this season," confides Lawton, "but had I been able to wait until we knew the outcome of the title race I would have opted for Wayne Rooney, assuming United do indeed claim the crown. For me, Rooney has emerged as the outstanding player of the season, for his country as well as his club."
And next year the FWA's choice will hopefully be made at the end of the regular season, technology issues not withstanding. But until then: "I will still raise a glass to a fine man in Gerrard on May 29" at the FWA awards dinner. ·
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