That's not to say that
But the whole thing still seems flawed. For starters, the votes are cast too early; why? Must players submit their choices by sea mail to a remote processing center? Surely a premium rate text number would have them all typing away feverishly with their handsets in no time. Given a bit more time, players may this year have found themselves tempted by the artistry of
Without the constant barrage of headlines that the season brings, players might engage their brains for a moment before picking up their pencils, rather than simply ticking the season's top-four pin-up boys. Of course the sight of Fabregas hobbling on a fractured leg epitomizes his dedication to Arsenal's cause, but would a bit more brainwork not lead the thinker towards the contribution of someone like Fabregas' teammate
There are always going to be players who miss out because their importance to their club is not replicated by their impact on the league.
Aston Villa manager
These are not names to better the four chosen, but the fact that they did not stand a chance of being recognized in this vote is to be lamented. If the decision rests on goals and assists, we may as well use the Actim Index and be done with it. Perhaps we need to lower our expectations; after all, this is the award that went to
PFA chief Gordon Taylor is right to praise Milner for the fact that "he has stuck in there, shown his adaptability and versatility and made it to the top", but having had eight years to do so, the 24-year-old's selection isn't really in the spirit of the thing now, is it? Fabregas is only 22, but with six full seasons at Arsenal under his belt, and the captain's armband on his sleeve -- not to mention his young player title two years ago -- his eligibility is almost as laughable as Rooney's. Hart is the only nominee who looks a comfortable fit on such a list; he turns 23 on Monday and is playing only his third full season. Irrespective of the rules, however, it's a worry that previous incumbents should still attract votes in a season that has produced plenty of other young talent.
Alongside Hart ought to be such names as