Paul Parker

Rooney a clear choice for PFA award

Paul Parker

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It comes as no surprise to see Wayne Rooney win the PFA Player of the Year award. He was far and away the leading contender, and it would have been farcical if he had not won it.

It was the most obvious choice for a long time and I'm sure he will add the Football Writers' award.

Carlos Tevez, Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba have all been very influential at times this season, but none of them have played to the same high level as consistently as Rooney. As soon as the nominations came out, it was a foregone conclusion.

This season he has shown sides of his game that he was not able to previously when Cristiano Ronaldo was at the club.

Instead of being stuck out on the wing, he has matured into an all-round attacker, and the improvement in his finishing - especially with his head - has been particularly impressive.

United have struggled without him; even though they nicked a result against Spurs and may even win the title, they are less fluent and dynamic when he is not in the side.

I have never seen United as reliant on any one player as they are on Rooney. They have certainly leant on him more than Chelsea have on Drogba, but Rooney deserves credit for stepping up to the mark.

Even though he has carried a lot of responsibility, he is still a team player who puts the collective good before his own.

This has been evident on the pitch and even off it - just compare the way he celebrated United's goals against Spurs from his place in the stands to Ronaldo's sullen face whenever he was not playing.

James Milner was a fair enough choice as the Young Player of the Year, and I think he benefited from coming into form when the voting took place.

Is he up to the task of stepping into the England team at the World Cup? The only way to find out is to put him in there - and he deserves a chance as one of the few midfielders in form at the moment.

Joe Hart was the only other English player in the Team of the Season, which does not reflect well on the state of the nation's game.

But when you look at the country's top players, only Frank Lampard might consider himself unlucky not to get into the side.

Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand have been hampered by injury, poor form or both.

John Terry's combination of poor form and personal indiscretions will not have made him the most popular player in dressing rooms around the league.

Voting can be a bit of a haphazard affair depending on what club you are at and what kind of player you are.

Some people take their vote very seriously, but others don't give it a lot of thought, and you will often find the team's PFA rep is trying to get it done as quickly as possible.

You can't vote for players in your own team, but often people have mates at other clubs, and personal factors certainly come into play.

That's why I think the Football Writers' Award is probably more prestigious than the PFA one, because it is purely down to football.

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