The Professional Footballers’ Association announced their shortlist for the annual PFA Player of the Year award on Thursday, with six English Premier League stars on the list, but Liverpool’s Senegalese player Sadio Mane was not included.
The Teranga Lions attacking player has been in impeccable form at Anfield this season after joining the club in an African record deal worth around $45.1 million.
The 25-year-old was away from his club while on national team duty at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in January, but despite his absence for a month, he has scored 13 goals and created five more for team-mates so far this season.
Despite his sterling efforts, he did not form part of the PFA’s shortlist, with Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane, Alexis Sanchez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard officially named as the six nominees for the award.
No Liverpool players made the list, and if one had, it is likely that it would have been Mane.
Instead, the current top four goalscorers in the EPL, Lukaku, Kane, Sanchez and Ibrahimovic, have been included, while many pundits suggest that Chelsea duo Hazard and Kante seem best placed to scoop the accolade.
The London club is currently top of the table by seven points with a handful of games remaining, and it is likely that Antonio Conte’s side will be crowned champions at the end of May, thanks in no small part to the engine room that is Kante, and the technically gifted Hazard.
Mane can perhaps feel somewhat annoyed at his absence in the list, because although the six nominees have all been excellent throughout the season, he has certainly made a case to join them, and if the number of nominees was increased to eight or 10, he would almost certainly be included.
He has provided quality in addition to quantity, as his goals have carried substantial weight, with goals scored against Merseyside derby rivals Everton in both legs.
In addition to those, he also made the difference against reigning champions Leicester City in September and scored a stunning brace against title-hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur in February.