For players under the age of 23 when the season starts, they have two bites at the awards cherry. Eligible for the Player of the Year awards as well, they have their own award.
Previous winners include Glenn Hoddle, Paul Gascoigne, Tony Adams, David Beckham, Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard and last year’s winner Leroy Sané.
Manchester City’s fleet-footed winger is among the favourites for the bookies with Marathon Bet offering 12/1 for the Germany international to retain his crown.
Sané has eight goals and nine appearances in the Premier League, compared to 10 and 15 last season.
Way ahead of him in the bookies eyes is team-mate, Raheem Sterling. The striker may not be the favourite of newsroom hacks but as far as football fans are concerned, he is flying for a young player. And it genuinely seems odd calling him a young player when he’s been on the scene for so long.
His form this season has made him 5/4 favourite. He’s broken his England hoodoo, on course to match or better his previous best in the Premier League for goals and assists. Not only that, he’s proven to possess an admirable strength of character when faced with the ugly face of racism.
The city of Manchester is dominating this season’s nominations. Following on the heels of Sterling are another City player Bernardo Silva and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford. The pair are 6/1 and 9/4 respectively while Anthony Marital, Rashford’s United team-mate, who is 18/1 to win the award.
It’s no surprise that none of that trio are clear rivals to Sterling. Silva has played well, Rashford rediscovered his joie de vivre for football under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having been one of the few who performed when Jose Mourinho. Others haven’t got the same claim at Old Trafford.
The Dark Horses
Some interesting names are on the bookmakers list. Away from the Manchester clubs, there are plenty of players who can stake a solid claim to finishing top of the vote.
Declan Rice (16/1), West Ham’s industrious midfielder, is the centre of a tug of love between England and the Republic of Ireland. England won out, much to the delight of the London Stadium faithful and to the Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
Rice impressed this season and recently scored his first Premier League goal, the only goal of the game when the Hammers beat Arsenal recently.
Tottenham sit third in the table and unsurprisingly, Dele Alli is on the fringes of this race (22/1) and sitting in the medical room at the club’s training ground. The longer he spends on the treatment table, the less likely the prospects of winning this award for the third time.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (25/1) found international recognition while Liverpool went to the Champions League final. The World Cup finals were a different story; the 1– 0 group stage defeat to Belgium was his only performance in Russia.
At Arsenal, their tenacious midfield duo are both reasons the North London club’s fans think there is a bright future. If only they can find players to accompany Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira (both 40/1). The combative duo are shining stars in a fairly dismal season for the Gunners on the pitch.
The interesting player at 40/1 is Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder, Ruben Neves. Such has been the level of his performances this season that interest from Manchester United and Liverpool was mooted in the autumn. With Nuno Espirito Santos team pushing the top eight, next summer will prove testing for the Molineux club as they seek to hold onto their star.
The Rank Outsiders
Leicester City midfielder James Maddison (40/1) put in some sparkling displays in his debut season in the Premier League. A £20m signing from Norwich City last summer, Maddison not only answered questions about whether he could handle the top flight, but he was also called into the England squad against Spain and Croatia.
Richarlison’s ten Premier League goals so far this season in a misfiring Everton side seemed to push him into the reckoning but the Toffees stumbling form saw him stall at 40/1.
Spare a thought for Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding (both 100/1) who might have been in the reckoning for the main prize were it not for season-ending injuries suffered last autumn.