The alternative Player of the Year

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Tomorrow evening the players will reveal who among their peers they regard as the season's best. The smart money, so much of it that the bookies stopped taking bets, is on Ryan Giggs being the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year. On the weekend he could make his 800th Manchester United appearance this would be a fitting tribute to one of the sport's legends, even if it is hard to argue that Giggs really has been the campaign's most influential player.

Click the image on the right to launch our guide.

Four United team-mates – Nemandja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo and Edwin van der Sar, plus Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, make up a short-list which reflects a relatively early voting deadline. Whichever player wins, the top four clubs will complete a decade-long domination of the award.

This, it might be suggested, is inevitable as they have all the best players. However, there have been plenty of outstanding performances from players with less-fashionable clubs. It can be argued that it is easier to stand out in a weaker team, but being in a winning one provides more opportunities to shine.



Achievement against the odds deserves recognition. Indeed, the League Managers' Association have honoured David Moyes and Steve Coppell with their equivalent award in recent years, and Tony Pulis is in contention this time. So who are the alternative players of the year?

The Independent's experts here give their nominations, players who have, in their own, often unfussy way, played significant roles in either keeping their club in the top flight, or challenging for honours. Xabi Alonso, who represents a top-four club, does sneak in, but given Anfield's overwhelming focus on Gerrard and Fernando Torres it can be argued he is as unsung as anyone.

Click the image on the right to launch our guide.

Who do you think is the player of the year is? Leave your comments and suggestions below.

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