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Tuesday 25 April 2017

Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville and Thierry Henry pick their PFA Player of the Year winners

The Sky Sports punditry team have made their picks for this season's PFA Player of the Year award which will be presented to the Premier League's most popular player among player's from this season.

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante is the bookmakers clear favourite to scoop the award, but the Sky Sports pundits are a bit more divided on the issue with only two of their six pundits picking the Frenchman to claim the PFA's top gong.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville and former Arsenal striker Alan Smith both said that they'd vote for Kante for the Player of the Year award, while fellow pundits Jamie Carragher, Niall Quinn and Thierry Henry all preferred his teammate Eden Hazard, who would claim his second PFA Player of the Award in the last three seasons should he win the prize later this month.

"When you watch him in games he's infectious - he's all over the pitch," Neville told Sky Sports of Kante. "His impact upon the two teams - Leicester and Chelsea - he's had over the last two seasons has been absolutely incredible."

Smith echoed Neville's praise and added that he's also been impressed by Kante's ability to transition from last season's champions Leicester City, to this season's champions-elect Chelsea.

"He came into the country and did it for Leicester and then he kicked on again," said Smith.

"He's not relaxed and had a breather. It's been a seamless transition to a bigger club with higher expectations and he's taken to it like a duck to water. He has some temperament."

Henry stressed that Kante would be deserving of the award should he win, but that he feels Hazard, who he also coaches as the assistant manager of the Belgian national team, will win because of the goals he's scored.

"Eden Hazard has been decisive this season," said Henry. "N'Golo Kante deserves it as much as him, but I think Eden will edge it. He scores important, decisive goals and beautiful goals."

Carragher also said that it was difficult to choose between Hazard and Kante, but that Hazard's creativity would edge it in his eyes, while for Quinn, it was a bit more clear-cut, with Kante the standout out player for this season.

"It's difficult to look away from Chelsea and at the moment. It's a toss-up between Hazard and Kante, who has been a revelation since he came to England," said Carragher.

"But, at the moment, I'll just go for Hazard, he's a special talent and the most creative player we have in the Premier League. Fingers crossed the Real Madrid talk is just talk, because you have to keep players like that in the Premier League."

Quinn added on Kante: "Hazard has been reborn after a really bad year last year. With Conte coming in you wondered if he was going to fit into his plans, never mind play the type of football he has played. He's been outstanding."

Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness was the only pundit to stray away from Stamford Bridge picking Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for his Player of the Year over the more fancied Chelsea duo.

"I said at the start of the season that Zlatan had to play well, had to be the main man for United and then United would have a good season as I thought they would struggle to get goals - and that is how it has turned out.

"I would make him my player of the season simply because he is 35 years old, he has single-handedly kept them in lots of competitions.

"I love his attitude because he gives a calming effect to the lesser lights - 'Do not worry, Zlatan's here' - and he has single-handedly dragged the club into a healthy position, and they have won one trophy.

"I would imagine in the dressing room he is fabulous, a manager's dream. I love someone who can back up what he says and he can certainly do that, so he is my player of the year."

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