The talent of Arsenal right-back Héctor Bellerín often taken for granted, mainly due to his age, but the Spaniard has surprisingly been ignored as the awards season approaches.
With Arsenal’s poor form fresh in the minds of most pundits and commentators, Bellerín is hardly brought up in discussion for who has been the Premier League’s best right-back this season, with most of the attention going to Spurs defender Kyle Walker.
Well, that’s not the only area to see Bellerín miss out on the discussion.
Nominees for PFA Young Player of the Year:
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Ross Barkley (Everton).
No Bellerín and no Anthony Martial, which appears to have riled Manchester United fans. The French forward has been in excellent form for the Red Devils for much of the campaign, often providing the only bright sparks in their dull encounters.
As for Bellerín, he’s victim of his position and the rules for the award. Established players like Jack Butland, Harry Kane and Philippe Coutinho shouldn’t realistically be eligible – Butland and Coutinho are already 23, an age the latter reached before the season even started.
But I digress.
Butland has certainly been good for Stoke while Kane and Alli have led Spurs’ title charge but Bellerín was arguably the best fullback in the entire division from August through to November, when he suffered a minor injury and a small dip in form.
Since then, though, the Spaniard has recovered and found his best once again, even though Arsenal’s results have suffered in the meantime. Football is a team sport and individual accolades are distracting but, if we’re goint to have them, they should probably ignore overall team performance to truly evaluate individuals.
Maybe Bellerín still has a chance of making the team of the season but that seems unlikely given the media clamour for Walker and his side’s performances.
At just 20, there’s a lot more to come for Bellerín, both individually and as part of a team. He’s already seen off an established international in Mathieu Debuchy and – if he wants to be – will be Arsenal’s first choice right-back for a long time.
The best is yet to come but it would’ve been nice for one of the biggest young talents in England to have been recognised for this season’s performances.