PUNDITS PICK: Carragher and Neville picked their end of season awards
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville picked their end of season awards, with both labelling Ruben Dias as the player of the year.
Carragher and Neville went through a number of unofficial awards on Sky Sports Monday Night Football with Manchester City's 23 year-old centre-back singled out as the outstanding player this season and they also agreed on Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola as the manager of the year.
City are within touching distance of the title despite being made to wait by Chelsea on the weekend after a 2-1 defeat and Carragher and Neville also agreed that City’s English attacker Phil Foden was the young player of the year.
In agreement on Dias
Carragher and Neville have become popular pundits on Sky Sports through their measured but passionate opinions, as well as an underlying friendly rivalry between the two which is particularly entertaining when they disagree.
However, they were both in no doubt over Dias, who was signed from Benfica for around £61 million in September 2020 and has helped Manchester City keep 16 clean sheets in his 28 Premier League appearances.
Speaking on why he picked Ruben Dias, Carragher said: "He has come in and been the best defender in the league - and for me the best player. Also, his leadership qualities for such a young player. To go into that big a team and look like the leader of the team, I think that's pretty special."
Gary Neville said: "Dias is one of those who makes the rest of the team safe. The impact of the great centre-back is not just what they do in terms of their own performance, they impact everybody else in that back four and the people in front of them. Dias is exceptional.
'Signing of the season'
It wasn't all agreement though as Carragher and Neville differed on their 'signing of the season' (although as they'd chosen Ruben Dias as the player of the year we assume he must have been disqualified for this one).
Jamie Carragher plumped for Tomas Soucek, West Ham's goalscoring defensive midfielder who had been on loan for the second half of the 2019/20 season but was then signed permanently in the summer. Soucek has drawn praise for his consistency in the middle of the park and his ability to arrive late in the box to score. He has 9 Premier League goals for West Ham as they have surprised everybody to sit in 5th place with 3 games remaining.
Meanwhile, Gary Neville decided to go for Edinson Cavani. The 34 year-old Uruguayan was brought in on a free transfer by Manchester United. Neville said if the transfer hadn't have worked, United would have become a 'laughing stock' but Cavani has hit 15 goals in all competitions as his team sits 2nd in the league and heads to the Europa League final. Yesterday, it was announced Cavani had extended his deal until June 2022.
Team of the Year
In terms of a team of the year, this is where the debate really started. Carragher and Neville agreed on 6 players with Manchester United's left back Luke Shaw and midfielder Bruno Fernandes as well as Spurs striker Harry Kane joining Dias, Foden and City's Kevin De Bruyne in both teams.
But when it came to the other positions, there was plenty of difference.
Carragher's team: Martinez - Coufal, Stones, Dias, Shaw - De Bruyne, Kante, Bruno Fernandes - Foden, Kane, Son
Neville's team: Mendy - Walker, Maguire, Dias, Shaw - De Bruyne, Gundogan, Bruno Fernandes - Foden, Kane, Rashford
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