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    Who should be Tottenham’s Player of the Year?

    By Alex Easley
    The PFA Player of the Year shortlist was announced this week.
    By now we all know the PFA’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year shortlists have been announced. 

    A few obvious names were selected as expected, the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez for POTY and Dele Alli for YPOTY. It got me thinking who should be Tottenham Hotspur’s player of the year?

    Being a lilywhite fan, it does not surprise me that both Kane and Alli made the shortlists (Kane for both awards). What does surprise me, however, are the omissions of Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier.

    If you have watched as many Spurs games as I do, the work of these two players does not go unnoticed in the stands of White Hart Lane. Both certainly could beat out Kane and Alli for the club’s award.

    Both players have without a doubt have gone a long way this season into improving the defensive side of the game and the number of goals conceded proves that, especially when they have statistically have the best defence in the league at present. These two, in my mind at least, are the two front runner’s for Spurs’ Player of the Year award.

    Toby Alderweireld has become a huge hit with the White Hart Lane faithful.
    TOBY ALDERWEIRELD

    With Alderweireld partnering fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen and Dier positioned in the screen in front, it had been extremely difficult for opposition attacks to score two or more goals in a game all season.

    The Belgian defender, who was on loan at Southampton last season, joined Spurs in the summer for a fee of £11.5 million.

    Looking back, that without a doubt has to be a bargain and possible signing of the summer. He slotted in seamlessly, lining up with ex-Ajax teammate Vertonghen at the heart of the defence.

    If you talk to Spurs fans, some may say the Vertonghen had been disinterested for a period of time until his good friend Toby joined the club. Until the point he was injured at Selhurst Park in January, Spurs had only conceded 19 goals in the league (the last one a Vertonghen own goal before the injury).

    Kevin Wimmer stepped up to partner Alderweireld for the second half, and until Vertonghen’s return in the 3-0 victory over Manchester United, a further SIX goals have been conceded in the next eleven league matches.

    Alderweireld was instrumental in helping Wimmer to keep up to his already high standard, and even though they lost to Dortmund, in the home leg Alderweireld was the stand out player for Spurs. Head and shoulders above the rest on the night with ease.

    Not only has he been important in keeping the ball out, he has also had a hand in six goals (scoring four and assisting Dele Alli for two of his).

    The Belgian is a great passer of the ball and can pick a pass from the back if the run is available to him.

    You only have to look at the two goals he assisted to see it. His long diagonals to switch play to the on rushing fullbacks (Rose and Walker) put Spurs on the front foot.

    Incredibly fit too, is the 27 year-old not missing one minute of action due to injury (or indeed suspension) having played every single minute of the Premier League season up to now.

    Averaging 1.3 tackles and just 0.3 fouls per game, it is hard to see past Toby Alderweireld being named Tottenham’s Player of the Year for the 2015/16 season.

    Eric Dier has had a tremendous second season at Tottenham.
    ERIC DIER

    Having said that, there is a young English defender turned defensive midfielder who has been equally critical to the success of Spurs defensive improvement.

    Boss Mauricio Pochettino put Eric Dier into the holding role in pre-season and there were some sections of the Spurs support sceptical at first.

    With reason too, as the DM position is a very crucial position to play for an experienced veteran let alone one who was originally a centre half.

    Dier started in the role in the opening game of the season at Old Trafford, and did not do too badly it has to be said.

    Since then he has certainly grown into the role and also loves the physical side. It was in fact in the centre of midfield that his ‘bromance’ with Alli began.

    The young player, whose career started in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon, joined Spurs in the summer of 2014 and scored the winner at Upton Park on his debut for the club.

    Since then, he has scored five goals, assisting three more in the league and rarely gets sent off or suspended for accumulating too many yellow cards.

    In fact, he has been on nine yellows for a few weeks and was just one away from a two game suspension.

    However, he has come through without picking up the last booking and is available in the crucial title run-in.

    Had he been suspended, Spurs do not have a natural replacement, such is the quick rise, success and vital need for Dier to be fit and available.

    It’s his filling in of space vacated by teammates to stop opposing counter attacks that may go unnoticed to the casual watcher.

    But, if you watch any of the final five Spurs games this season, look out for Dier to either step in the centre half role if needed, or even at right or left full back if Walker and Rose have gone forward in a Spurs attack.

    It’s hard to forget that he is only 22 years of age when he plays with an incredible amount of maturity, so much in fact that fans have named him as a potential future captain.

    In this successful league campaign, helping Spurs to 2nd and a fight for the title, Dier has been given his England debut, while also scoring the winner in a friendly for the senior side in Berlin.

    Dier's contributions on the field and bromance with Alli off it have led to the Spurs support updating an old song which featured another midfield worker. It used to be I love Steffen Freund, Steffen Freund loves me, now it goes I love Eric Dier, Eric Dier loves me.

    HONORABLE MENTIONS

    Such is the team ethic and work rate created by Argentine Mauricio Pochettino these days that a number of his squad could be named Player of the Year for the north London club.

    Already mentioned are Kane and Alli, but Danny Rose has improved immensely and got his first senior England cap. Moussa Dembele has been a beast in midfield disrupting play and holding onto possession.

    Erik Lamela is another one who has improved at an incredible rate. The pressing of the team off the ball starts with one player. That is Lamela. His passion and work rate off the ball to get into tackles and win it back for his team is a joy to watch.

    Hugo Lloris, of course, should also be included. Making world class saves week after week to keep the goals conceded to a minimum and often winning his side valuable points in the process.

    Jan Vertonghen has also stepped up his performance levels this season, aided by best friend Alderweireld.

    The Spurs squad have such a spirit, passion and unity that makes it hard to single out one stand-out ‘superstar’. In truth any one of those mentioned would deserve to win the award.

    Spurs are certainly not a one or two man team these days.
    MY VOTE – TOBY ALDERWEIRELD

    In the case of picking out a player of the year, it’s difficult for Spurs, but pushed to give an answer it would be Toby Alderweireld. Not missed a single minute of Premier League football helps in making the decision.
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