April 20, 2013 14:21
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Luis Suarez, FC Liverpool
PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist
PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist - Men
Gareth Bale, Michael Carrick, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Luis Suárez and Robin van Persie
PFA Young Player of the Year Award Shortlist
Gareth Bale, Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere
PFA Women's Player of the Year Award Shortlist
Gemma Davison, Toni Duggan, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs, Jodie Taylor
Suarez has been honored by the PFA to selection on the Player of the Year Award shortlist through acknowledgement by his peers
There are some eyebrows raised by the selection of Suarez - not due to his goal scoring skills, but because of his conduct on the pitch in the past.
Suárez has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. However, previously his reputation was damaged by an eight-match ban he received for racially abusing Patrice Evra at Anfield last season. And his handball denied Ghana an appearance in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals. In the past Suarez has been accused of diving.
If Suárez wins the award on April 28, it may put the PFA in an uncomfortable position given his background.
Suárez's rivals for the award are Gareth Bale, who has also been nominated in the Young Player category, Robin van Persie, who won it last season before leaving Arsenal for Manchester United, Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), and Juan Mata (Chelsea).
Surprisingly there are no defenders or goalkeepers on the list; no nominations from holders Manchester City; and star Swansea forward Michu is missing from the list. Welbeck, Wilshere and Carrick are the only English players out of the 12 men nominated. For the first time, there will be a Women's Player of the Year prize too, with Scotland's Kim Little among those nominated.
PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, yesterday defended the inclusion of Luis Suárez on the six-man shortlist. The footballers are shortlisted on the basis of votes cast by their fellow professionals.
Taylor thinks the Uruguayan's match performances, including 29 goals for Liverpool this campaign, make him worthy of inclusion.
"Sometimes controversy travels with players," said Taylor. "Sometimes it is in their very nature. Sometimes it is that very intensity that causes a problem also makes sure they win.
"Luis Suárez is helping to restore Liverpool. It is a credit to them that he seems comfortable there and no one could deny he is one of the finest players in the world."
"It is very difficult at times," said Taylor. "Players are expected to be top role models and set the finest example. That goes with the trade these days.
"I don't underestimate the need for them to do all they can to be seen as a good example. But they are also human beings. It is not always possible to put old heads on relatively young shoulders.
"This is a footballing award and Suárez's footballing ability shines through. It would be naive to think controversy won't continue to travel with him. But I think his football has maintained his place."
Suárez's manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, thinks Suarez deserves the award.
"It is great for Luis and a mark of the team. I'm sure he will be the first to recognize the great support he has from the players around him. He has been absolutely outstanding this season. You can only judge these things on football and I am sure he is one of the favorites to win it."
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Luis Suarez - Liverpool tickets: Sun, Apr 21 Liverpool v Chelsea Tickets - Anfield Road, Liverpool; Sat, May 4 Liverpool v Everton Tickets - Anfield Road, Liverpool; Sun, May 19 Liverpool v Queens Park Rangers Tickets - Anfield Road, Liverpool.
Juan Mata, Eden Hazard - Chelsea tickets: Sun, Apr 21 Liverpool v Chelsea Tickets - Anfield Road, Liverpool; Thu, Apr 25 FC Basel v Chelsea Tickets - St. Jakob Park, Basel; Sat, Apr 27 Chelsea v Swansea City Tickets - Stamford Bridge, London.
Gareth Bale - Tottenham Hotspur tickets: Sun, Apr 21 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City Tickets - White Hart Lane, London; Sat, Apr 27 Wigan Athletic v Tottenham Hotspur Tickets - DW Stadium, Wigan; Sat, May 4 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton Tickets - White Hart Lane, London.
Robin Van Persie, Michael Carrick - Manchester United tickets: Mon, Apr 22 Manchester United v Aston Villa Tickets - Old Trafford, Manchester; Sun, Apr 28 Arsenal v Manchester United Tickets - Emirates Stadium, London; Sun, May 5 Manchester United v Chelsea Tickets - Old Trafford, Manchester.
Jack Wilshire - Arsenal tickets: Sat, Apr 20 Fulham v Arsenal Tickets - Craven Cottage, London; Sun, Apr 28 Arsenal v Manchester United Tickets - Emirates Stadium, London; Sat, May 4 Queens Park Rangers v Arsenal Tickets - Loftus Road, London.