The Graham Cummins column: Man City dynamo deserves top player award ahead of Jordan Henderson

The Graham Cummins column: Man City dynamo deserves top player award ahead of Jordan Henderson
Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles (left) and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne battle for the ball. Picture: Matthew Childs/NMC Pool/PA Wire. 

THE PFA Player’s Player of the Year lost some value when Ryan Giggs was awarded the accolade in 2009.

The former Manchester United player was given the award more as an acknowledgment of what he achieved in the game in the past rather than on his performances that season.

Giggs only completed 12 90-minute games in the league that campaign. There were a lot of more deserving winners but sometimes in football, the right decisions aren’t always made and I just hope history doesn’t repeat itself with this season’s award.

The award should be given to the individual most deserving not a player from the most successful team.

Liverpool have been the best team this season but doesn’t mean they have had the best individual.

The PFA Player’s Player of the Year shouldn’t even be up for debate but yet, there are still people arguing that Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson deserves the award more than Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.

By City’s high standards, they have been poor in the league this season.

They were nowhere near the levels that Pep Guardiola’s side had achieved in the previous two campaigns.

However, De Bruyne, unlike the team, has improve and had it not been for the Belgian, City might have been in a battle to finish in the top-four.

De Bruyne performances have seen the 29-year-old establish himself as the best midfielder in the world. There seems to be no weakness to his game.

He scores goals, carries the ball effortlessly, is as comfortable with both feet and is the best crosser of a ball to play in the Premier League. He is the complete midfielder.

His leadership qualities are now starting to come through and I would expect him to be named City captain after David Silva departs at the end of the season.

Liverpool fans might argue that such is the winning margin of their title victory, that one of their players deserves the award but I bet Liverpool would swap Henderson – the man favourite to win the award with De Bruyne – for the city player in a heartbeat.

I’ve suggested before, that this Liverpool team are not the best in Premier League history but had Klopp, De Bruyne in his team then I do believe a player of his quality would be the difference between Liverpool being an exceptional team and the greatest.

Instead, Klopp has a player like Henderson, who many think deserves the award. The accolade should be in recognition of a player who has stood out above the rest week in week out.

Jordan Henderson appeals to referee Craig Pawson after picking up an injury. Picture: Daniel Leal Olivas/NMC Pool/PA Wire.
Jordan Henderson appeals to referee Craig Pawson after picking up an injury. Picture: Daniel Leal Olivas/NMC Pool/PA Wire.

Can the biggest Henderson supporters really say that the former Sunderland player has stood out in most games this season? He has been excellent at times and there are games where Henderson has been the best player on the pitch but he wouldn’t lace De Bruyne’s boots.

If there was an award for the best team player, Henderson would win hands down but he doesn’t deserve an award that is for the best individual.

It’s very rare, I’ve watched a Liverpool game and been in awe of what the Liverpool captain has just done on the pitch, whereas with De Bruyne, I constantly find myself questioning, how the Belgian has produced such a magnificent past or scored a wonder goal.

Most of what Henderson does can replicated by another player if they train hard enough but with De Bruyne, his skills cannot be learned, he is just a naturally gifted player.

Henderson is a hard-worker, a manager’s dream, a player that will always give everything and will get a seven out of 10 for his performances most games.

The odd occasion he might get a nine or a 10 but those sorts of performances are rare for the Liverpool captain whereas with De Bruyne, those top performances are the norm.

Granted, the City midfielder can have an off day and looks like a player that just doesn’t fancy it but can still always produce a moment of magic.

Henderson needs to play to his very best every game to be regarded as a top player and I believe he is lucky to be a Liverpool player.

Were, he at a club like Newcastle and played the way he did, I don’t think Klopp would be in rush to sign him because he wouldn’t stand out.

Henderson would just be another fit player who does a job for the team. De Bruyne, would stick out like a sore thumb in a team like Newcastle. The team would revolve around the Belgian.

Anyone who thinks, this is me having another go at Liverpool, it’s not. They have been the best team in the league, they just haven’t had the best individual.

I love seeing players who work hard for their team rewarded. Working-hard for the team is the basic a player should do and is a skill that a lot of young players think they don’t have to do nowadays.

Henderson is a role model to every aspiring footballer of just how far hard work can get a player but hard work alone is not enough to be the very best.

To be the very best, a player needs to have that little bit extra which De Bruyne has had this season and Henderson hasn’t and hopefully that will be acknowledged when the winner of the PFA Player’s Player of the Year is announced today.

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