On Friday morning, the nominations for the Premier League Player of the Season award were released, which featured Manchester City stars Kevin De Bruyne and Joao Cancelo.
The City duo were nominated alongside Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen, and Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse.
Ahead of his side’s upcoming Premier League encounter against West Ham on Sunday afternoon, Pep Guardiola was quizzed about Kevin De Bruyne and Joao Cancelo being nominated for the prestigious award.
“There are many players, on shortlists there are a lot of players from every club who play good. Normally, Liverpool and (Manchester) City, it's normal. Bernardo (Silva), Rodri were exceptional."
Guardiola continued, "Riyad (Mahrez) exceptional this season, last few seasons from him. All players make a contribution. What is important for Kevin (De Bruyne) and Joao (Cancelo) is to win the Premier League."
As the in-form Bernardo Silva’s exclusion was also pointed out, the Catalan boss reacted to the Portuguese international getting overlooked among the nominees by saying, “I didn't speak to him, everyone has his thoughts, it's nice to be nominated. But knowing Bernardo, I think he is well.”
While it is no surprise to see De Bruyne and Cancelo earn a place among the candidates to lift the award this season, Pep Guardiola was certainly right in shining light on several other Manchester City players who arguably deserved to make the cut.
Looking at the entirety of the 2021/22 season, it is far from an outlandish statement to suggest that Bernardo Silva has arguably been one of the standout midfielders in Europe, let alone the Premier League.
The same can be said for Rodri, who has a strong shout for being classed as the best defensive midfielder across the continent, and possibly Manchester City’s most consistent performer throughout the ongoing campaign.
Keeping the exclusions aside for a moment, Joao Cancelo could make history by becoming the first full-back to win the award, and Kevin De Bruyne could becoming the first player in Premier League history to lift the award thrice in a row.