Five 'out the box' candidates for PFA Player of the Year

Should any of these Swansea, Manchester United, Tottenham, Southampton or Manchester City players be considered for the prize ahead of the likes of Gareth Bale, Juan Mata, Luis Suarez and Robin Van Persie?

The voting for the PFA Player of the Year gets under way in March so with that in mind the early contenders have already been announced with the bookies also announcing their favourites for the prize.

Gareth Bale is now the unanimous favourite to pick up the accolade while Juan Mata, Michu, Robin Van Persie, Luis Suarez and Leighton Baines are also being mentioned favourably among the press; and rightly so they have all had incredible seasons. 

However could some of the less illustrious players in the league be being overlooked despite their contribution to the team and league this year?

We take a look at five players who could be considered the PFA’s most Underrated Players of the Year.

Chico Flores - Swansea City

While in recent weeks all the talk has been about Ashley Williams and how good he has been this season for me his regular partner at the heart of Swansea’s defence has been one of the most outstanding players of the season.

He has been regular at The Liberty showcasing his controlled defensive ability and magnificent technical prowess that belies his position.

Jan Vertonghen - Tottenham Hotspur

Signed from Ajax in the summer the Belgian’s versatility and class have played an important role in Andre Villas Boas’ sides excellent campaign so far.

Whether operating at centre-back or on the left of the back four his performances have been exemplary and consistent all season.

While Gareth Bale receives most of the plaudits it is important to remember the impact players such as Sandro, Moussa Dembele, Michael Dawson and indeed Vertonghen have had on this great campaign.

Michael Carrick - Manchester United

It is a common pub argument between me and friends as opinion seems to vary from either very low or very high on the Manchester United midfielder; without room for common ground.

Personally I feel he is a victim of an English culture that wants to see a player of his mould making crunching tackles and winning possession but that is not Carrick’s game.

Another common misconception is that he only plays the ball from left to right; wrong. Carrick has attempted more splitting passes than anyone in the Premier League this season and you can leave the side passing to Messrs Arteta, Allen, Britton and co.

A consistent presence in the heart of the table toppers midfield; Michael Carrick is a definite inclusion for me.

Morgan Schneiderlin - Southampton

Southampton seem to be edging themselves toward safety, although don’t speak to soon, and at the heart of it all has been their French midfielder.

A strange player in that he struggled at times at League One level got better in the Championship and is now Southampton’s best player in the Premier League.

Nobody has made more tackles per game than the Southampton midfielder and 2012-13 is also his best goalscoring season to date. At just 23-years-old he could also be considered for the young player accolade.

He signed a contract extension till 2017 earlier in the week.

Pablo Zabaleta - Manchester City

Quietly plugging away, doing whatever job is asked of him with general aplomb is Manchester City’s under-appreciated utility man Pablo Zabaleta.

He has spent much of this season in the right back position and has more than a case to say he has been the best in the league this season.

Who do you think is being overlooked for PFA Player of the Year?

images: © Andrea Sartorati, © smabs sputzer

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