Charlie Nicholas highlights the importance of Dimitri Payet to West Ham and Riyad Mahrez to Leicester

The West Ham and Leicester stars are his two players of the season.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Charlie Nicholas has highlighted the importance that Dimitri Payet and Riyad Mahrez have to their respective teams, naming them his two contenders for player of the season.

When asked to name his player of the season, Nicholas said: “For me it's Riyad Mahrez very closely followed by Dimitri Payet. Jamie Vardy would of course be in the frame but if I'm looking at which players the teams miss the most, it is those two. West Ham had to go defensive without Payet and Leicester fans would have been fearing the worst when they saw Mahrez pull up on Saturday.”

Leicester have been lucky that Mahrez has stayed fit for the whole season, and his goal at the weekend in the victory over Watford took the Foxes five points clear at the top of the table.

He has been exceptionally efficient with his goals and assists, but he has also just been a joy to watch on a weekly basis.

Payet has not been as efficient on a statistical basis, but he too has been a joy to watch, and the Frenchman has been central to West Ham’s rise up the table.

All their creative play has gone through him, and if he had not been injured for an extended time, the Hammers would likely be challenging at the top of the table.

Slaven Bilic had to make his side more defensive when Payet was out to compensate for his loss, and his absence might cost them a top four finish.

Payet and Mahrez have been the two best players in the Premier League this season, and their impact to their respective sides has led the clubs up the top flight table.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch