As we get to the business end of the Premier League campaign West Ham continue to defy the odds and sit fourth in the table after 30 matchdays gone.
David Moyes’ side have been the surprise packages of the season and deserve all the praise they’re receiving. While it has definitely been a team effort, some of the squad members have had particularly good runs this year.
Within the next few weeks, we’ll find out the nominees for the PFA and FWA Writers Footballer of the Year awards. It would come as no shock to see some Hammers players amongst those nominated.
Who makes a case?
In the 2010/11 campaign, Scott Parker became the second West Ham player after Bobby Moore to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award. The former skipper took the prize despite us being relegated to the Championship, for his efforts week in, week out.
As things stand we’ve never had a player win the PFA Player of the Year award. The closest? Dimitri Payet, who was nominated for his stunning performances in the 2015/16 campaign.
Speaking on the talkSPORT Breakfast show on Wednesday [7.00 am], Tony Cascarino claimed Jesse Lingard could be in the running, despite playing just eight Premier League games.
“If you go to last season and January when Ferandnes came into the club at Man United and played half a season there was then the debate of whether he can be a candidate for player of the season,” said Cascarino.
“A lot of fans, probably largely United, felt that for how big an impact he had.
“It sort of made me think – can you make the same argument with Jesse at West Ham? Could be a candidate for player of the season?
“Should you even be a candidate for playing half a season? But you can’t deny it, he’s been unbelievably exceptional. As a candidate, you could definitely make a case.”
In our opinion, the awards come too soon for Lingard. Watching him play for West Ham has been a blessing and a pleasure, and we hope he stays. There would simply be too much of a backlash if he were to win anything based on eight matches.
More realistically, Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice could absolutely be in with a shout. The duo have formed an incredible relationship on the pitch this season, and have both gone off to shine for their countries.
Prior to Rice’s knee injury, the pair had played every minute of every game together in the Premier League this season. That is, of course, aside from the single minute missed by Soucek for his red card against Fulham.
The big Czech international has scored nine Premier League goals and has won more headers (327) than anyone else in the top flight [WyScout]. Rice, on the other hand, has made more progressive runs (68) than any other defensive midfielder in the league.
They don’t just defend well, they attack and lead us up the pitch too. Arguably they’re the best partnership in the country. If anyone is going to win one of the individual awards, it’ll be those two.
In other West Ham news, here are three things we learned in the 3-2 victory at Molineux.