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It’s that time of year again…Overtime columnists are here to put right the biggest injustices from 2022

By Joseph Bird

The PFA men’s award for the standout young player is guilty of favouring the same ‘premier league proven’ players rather than supporting more fresh, new talent.

For a start, the award claims to be eligible for any player from one of the EFL (English Football League) teams, however the only player to have even been nominated for the award outside of the Premier League is Ryan Sessegnon (then at Fulham) in 2018. This leaves the question whether the award truly looks at new young players from all levels. I believe this problem could easily be sorted by introducing an award for each tier, down to League Two, and holding the ceremony together in order to show quality youth from all tiers to the main media and fans.

Another issue is that the award has been dominated by British players since its creation despite foreign players being an integral and quality aspect of the English leagues for decades, in fact to date, out of the 49 times the award has been given out, only six times has a non- British player won. This has led many to wonder if the award is being used to show England’s improving youth instead of the actual quality of youngsters in the top tiers of men’s football.

Finally, the winners of the award in recent years have shown the need for a change in who qualifies as a young player. As of July 2021 the award was rightfully changed so that the player had to be aged 21 or younger at the start of the season to qualify for the award (in contrast to the 24 limit prior to this change). However for me the rules need more improvement as players are winning in their 2nd or 3rd stand out season as young players therefore in my eyes no longer being seen as one despite their age. An example is Trent Alexander-Arnold, his first stellar campaign was in the 18-19 when he registered 12 assists and a goal. However he ended up winning it in the 19-20 when he was averaging the same performance.

Young players absolutely deserve to have an award to separate them from the main PFA award, however I believe the young player award itself isn’t allowing the players who have had their first standout season to win and instead favours the young players who are good enough and experienced enough to win the main prize (PFA POTY) therefore making the purpose of the prize questionable. In the future I would like to see either the requirements change or the attitudes towards voting change so we can see the new youth get the respect it deserves.

By Ailani Verrall

The omission of Tottenham Hotspur player Heung-Min Son from the Professional Football Association’s (PFA) team of the season was the biggest disappointment in the year’s selection.

As joint Premier League goalscorer, with Mohammad Salah, Son was overlooked in favour of Sadio Mane who was incomparable with seven less goals and five less assists than the Spurs winger.

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Arguably, Son is one of the best forwards in the world, but I believe that he doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves. If the South Korean played for Liverpool, I think he would have made this team.

His 23 goals and seven assists helped Spurs return to the Champions League, but the voting occurred too early.

The votes closed with three games remaining when Son was two goals behind in the race for the Golden Boot. In my opinion, the voting should only take place at the end of the season when a player’s total accomplishments and contributions can be considered.

By Max Frankel-Pollen

The ridiculous new rule allowing five substitutes for the Premier League 22/23 season, despite the backing from the majority of teams, will only favour the elite and cause a greater disparity between top and bottom.

Manchester City will benefit from being able to introduce the likes of Sterling, Grealish, Jesus, Laporte and Gundogan. At the other end of the spectrum, Bournemouth and other clubs with ambitions of survival may well have to rely on a mixture of seasoned professionals and youth players.

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The rule was introduced for matches played behind closed doors during the 20/21 season with no competitive football played in three months due to Covid and resulting absences. The rule made sense at this time but no longer feels relevant.

20/21 net transfer spending clearly shows that clubs without the funds to improve their overall squad suffered the most by way of final league position

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July 2024