Premier League Player of the Year 2021: Our writers pick their standout football of the season

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 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

As the 2020-21 Premier League season nears its conclusion, debate is turning to who has been the standout individual performer and deserves to win the Player of the Year award.

Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes and Harry Kane are the current favourite with the bookmakers but do our writers agree?

Here, the Standard Sport team offer their pick and their reason behind their choice.

Dan Kilpatrick: Harry Kane (Tottenham)

The England captain is on course to be the first-ever player to finish as top-scorer and with the most assists in a Premier League season and is perhaps responsible for the best individual performance of the campaign – his four assists and one goal at Southampton.

His remarkable output is in spite of playing in a poor side who are sinking fast.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Kane has been both Spurs’ focal point and creative hub, and it is genuinely alarming to think how wretched their season might have been without him.

It is equally strange to think his brilliance was not long ago being questioned. He has silenced his doubters again and deserves all the individual accolades coming to him.

Simon Collings: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Kevin De Bruyne has been the heartbeat and conductor of this Manchester City team, but Ruben Dias is their rock at the back.

The defender has been nothing short of a revelation during his first season in England and it is scary to think he is still only 23.

Manchester City forked out around £65million to sign Dias from Benfica in the summer, but he has fully justified that price tag so far.

The biggest compliment you can give him is that he has had a similar impact to Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Jack Rosser: Harry Kane (Tottenham)

If a nomination for a non-existent player of the year award from myself does not satisfy Harry Kane’s trophy winning desire, I don’t know what will.

In what has bit a rather catastrophic season for Tottenham, the England captain has managed to hit new heights.

Kane has always been capable when it comes to dropping deep and becoming a playmaker but has taken that trait to a new level this term, while maintaining his extremely high standards for goalscoring.

Others may have had more success with their sides this season but cast against the chaos of Spurs there has been no better individual than Kane.

James Robson: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

He is not so much the Player of the Year, but the Player of the Year and a half.

The Portugal international’s transformative effect on Manchester United since signing in January of last year has been nothing short of phenomenal.

He quickly earned comparisons with Eric Cantona and it is easy to see why, with him immediately gelling Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s disparate side together.

Manchester United via Getty Images
Manchester United via Getty Images

He is a game-changer - a match-winner. In 78 appearances, Fernandes has scored 40 goals. He has been the inspirational figure that has guided them to their joint-best Premier League finish since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and also to the Europa League Final.

He has given Solskjaer something to build his entire team around - and, arguably, only Harry Kane is more important to team.

Malik Ouzia: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

There’s no doubt in my mind that Kevin de Bruyne is the best player in the Premier League, but he’s missed about a third of City’s games this season so Ruben Dias just edges him for my vote.

Individually, he’s clearly been the division’s outstanding defender but it’s the transformational effect that he’s had on City’s entire backline that has been so remarkable, likewise the way he has - at 23 - brought much-needed leadership to a dressing room that has gradually lost some of its most established characters over recent years.

Perhaps City might have won the title without him anyway (Aymeric Laporte’s not bad, you know?) but there’s no way they’d have produced the kind of two-legged display against PSG - their flagship performance of the campaign - that has put them within touching distance of a first Champions League.

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