Van Persie favourite to land PFA title

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie will be the clear favourite after being named among the nominees for PFA Players’ Player of the Year award today.

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie will be the clear favourite after being named among the nominees for PFA Players’ Player of the Year award today.

The prolific Dutchman, who has scored 34 goals this season, heads a six-man shortlist revealed by the Professional Footballers’ Association for their top award.

The Manchester City trio David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Joe Hart, Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney make up the rest of the list.

The winner will be announced at the union’s prestigious annual awards night on Sunday.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor today assessed each of the candidates as the list was announced.

Taylor feels Van Persie, 28, has now started to show his true potential after being hampered by injuries in the past.

Taylor said: “He has been amazing.

“When you think of the players Arsene Wenger has brought to the club – he came from Feyenoord for £2.75million I think and that is incredible really.

“When you think of (Dennis) Bergkamp, (Ruud) van Nistelrooy, (Marco) van Basten – he is in that mould of absolutely top-class strikers that Holland, quite phenomenally, manages to produce.

“You could pick half a dozen of his goals out for goal of the season.

“Arsenal were struggling for some time but he was a real talisman for them.

“He seems to have lifted the team and got them back believing in themselves again and looking to qualify for the Champions League, giving all the Arsenal fans some hope.”

Aguero has made a big impact at the Etihad Stadium after arriving in a club-record £38million deal last summer.

The 23-year-old, also nominated for Young Player of the Year, has scored 28 goals for City.

Taylor said: “We have been really fortunate to have a player like Sergio Aguero here.

“He has been a major player for Manchester City and I am not surprised there is talk of Real Madrid wanting him.

“I think Manchester City should work hard to keep him because he is a joy to watch.”

Silva has also been an inspirational figure for City during their Barclays Premier League title challenge, with his form earlier in the season particularly outstanding.

Taylor said of the Spaniard: “He is like Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas. He is a playmaker, a magician – and I think some of his team-mates call him Merlin.

“He is a delight to watch and he makes the team tick.

“It perhaps shows the competitiveness of our game that he has not been able to maintain it throughout a full season, but when he is at his best and at his sharpest I don’t think there is a better playmaker in the world.”

City’s title bid has also been based on the strongest defence in the competition and Hart has been crucial to that.

The 24-year-old, who had loan spells at Tranmere, Blackpool and Birmingham earlier in his career, is now well established as England’s number one.

Taylor said: “I recall when he went to Birmingham on loan, I rang him and told him to keep faith.

“I didn’t want him to feel it was a setback and telling him to use the experience.

“He has maintained his faith in his ability and his record since then has been excellent both for England and Man City.

“I think he has got to be one of the finest goalkeepers around.”

Parker, 31, last season’s Football Writers Player of the Year, has been vital for Tottenham since being snapped up from relegated West Ham last August.

Taylor said: “I have great admiration for Scott Parker as a player and as a person.

“He is relatively small in stature for the role he has but the work-rate, the courage, the bravery – he puts his body in there and tackles. He has been a great buy.

“Tottenham and England have found he is more than capable of doing it at the top level.”

England striker Rooney has also enjoyed another statistically excellent season for United, scoring 32 goals.

But Taylor also highlights his all-round contribution to his teams.

He said: “People were saying this was far from one of the best United teams but they have managed to come through and Wayne Rooney has managed to keep a consistency and sharpness and his goalscoring record is there for all to see.

“I also think there has been a maturity in his game. His goalscoring is his top quality but he does have that ability to do a job for the team. His commitment is top class.”

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