United dominate PFA awards
Manchester United players dominate the nominees to be crowned PFA Players' Player of the Year, with five of the six contenders hailing from the current Premier League leaders. Edwin van der Sar, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo are in the hunt for the prize, with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard representing the rest of the Premier League. United also provide two of the candidates for the PFA Young Player of the Year honour in Jonny Evans and Rafael da Silva, with Aston Villa duo Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young, Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland and Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon the competition. Dutch veteran Van der Sar is looking to become the first goalkeeper in over 30 years to win the award after setting a record for minutes without conceding a league goal earlier this season. He has been ably protected by central defensive duo Ferdinand and Vidic, with the Serbian powerhouse tipped by many to take the prize. However, the evergreen Giggs has been mooted as a possible sentimental vote, with the Welshman yet to add the senior award to the two Young Player of the Year accolades he collected in the early 1990s. Portuguese ace Ronaldo may not have hit the heights of last season, but he is still the joint-top scorer in the Premier League and is chasing a hat-trick of Player of the Year awards. Out to prevent a clean sweep of the top three spots is Gerrard, who won the award in 2006 and has been inspirational in Liverpool's push for a first title in 19 years. In the Young Player category, Evans and Rafael are aiming to become the fourth United player to win the award in the past five years. Evans has been more than an able understudy to Ferdinand and Vidic in the centre of defence this season, while swashbuckling full-back Rafael has also caught the eye. Villa's push for a UEFA Champions League spot has been rewarded with Agbonlahor and Young looking to follow in the footsteps of Andy Gray and Gary Shaw, who won this award in 1977 and 1981 respectively. Ireland has impressed in the centre of midfield for City this season and he is aiming to become only the second player from the club to win the award after Peter Barnes' success back in 1976. Spurs have also supplied the winner of the Young Player of the Year only once, when Glenn Hoddle won in 1980, and England winger Lennon is in the running after a sparkling campaign at White Hart Lane.
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