Manchester United dominate PFA Player of the Year award nominations
14 April 2009 12:37
As voting took place before United's recent dip in form, it is perhaps no surprise the quintuple-chasing club provide five contenders - including Ryan Giggs, who has never won the prestigious award despite boasting a record 10 league titles.
Gerrard could benefit from a split vote for United players as David Ginola did during the 1999 treble-winning season, a fact which still irritates Sir Alex Ferguson.
Aside from Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar - who kept a record 14 consecutive clean sheets earlier in the season - are also nominated, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, who could become the first player to win three times in succession.
However, the favourite to lift the trophy at Grosvenor House on April 26 remains Nemanja Vidic, another ever-present during United's record run of clean sheets.
Apart from a dismal performance in the home defeat by Liverpool last month, which culminated in a sending off and a two-match ban, Vidic has hardly put a foot wrong all season.
United also have two contenders to be crowned young player of the year in Jonny Evans and Rafael Da Silva.
Evans has enjoyed an outstanding season, stepping in for Ferdinand on a regular basis but arguably Rafael, an 18-year-old Brazilian, has made an even more startling impact.
There is plenty of competition though, with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young both making the final six in recognition of Aston Villa's brilliant first half of the campaign.
Tottenham's Aaron Lennon also caught the eye of his fellow professionals, although it could be argued Manchester City's Stephen Ireland has enjoyed the most consistent season and is most likely to succeed Cesc Fabregas.
Ireland might have courted controversy earlier in his career but the youngster has put all that behind him this term with some superb performances that have outshone Brazilian duo Robinho and Elano.