Manchester United starlet pips Liverpool target to Championship award

Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha was named Championship Player of the Year ahead of Blackpool’s Tom Ince.

Zaha has been on loan with Crystal Palace ever since he made the permanent switch to Manchester United earlier in the season and the award is further justification on that £12 million investment by the Premier League champions.

Tom Ince has not had a bad season by any means, which is why he remains linked with a possible move back to Liverpool this summer, along with a whole host of other Premier League clubs interested.

United fans will see this as a little moral victory over the arch enemies but in terms of the stats, Ince should have won by the proverbial country mile.

Zaha has produced just six goals and eight assists from his 41 appearances for Palace this season, which doesn’t get anywhere near the 18 goals and 13 assists that Ince has produced in a Blackpool shirt.

It could have something to do with the impact that Zaha has had, earning that move to United and also making his England senior debut this season but Liverpool fans will rightly point out, it should all be about the numbers.

Another possible reason for Ince being pipped to the award could be the varying contrasts that each team has experienced this season.

Palace look as though they are going to finish with a play-off spot which gives Ian Holloway the chance to take the side up to the Premier League, which would give him a second crack at management in the top flight.

Blackpool by contrast have endured a frustrating season with managerial changes affecting the team which has seen them slide into mid-table mediocrity, when many were tipping them to bounce back up.

In effect, that should even have had more of an effect on the destination of this award because it makes Ince’s achievements more impressive, as he’s been a stand out player in an otherwise struggling side.

This is an award which is voted for by the players and it seems that Zaha is a more intimidating player for Championship sides to play against.

He doesn’t enjoy the benefits that come along with being a central midfielder in the respect that he can get into more goalscoring positions and places on the field where he can setup a higher ratio of chances.

It’s very clear that he’s widely regarded as one of the most exciting wingers in English football at the moment, which combined with the direct affect he’s been having against Championship full backs, makes him a very exciting 20-year-old as he heads back up to Old Trafford.

Did Zaha deserve the award ahead of Ince?

images: © jamesboyes, © OliverN5

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch