Another day, another piece of silverware for Manchester City.
This morning brought the news that summer signing Ruben Dias had capped off a superb debut season in the English game by getting the nod for the Football Writers’ Association Player of Year – no mean feat for a 24-year-old settling into life in a new country.
Without question, the Portuguese stopper is a hugely deserving winner. The impact that he and John Stones have had at the heart of City’s defence has been nothing short of transformative – and while the 32 goals they have conceded thus far isn’t a million miles away from the 35 they shipped last term, the difference in presence and confidence that Dias has helped to instil is marked.
It’s also pleasing to see a defender win the prestigious gong for a first time since 1989.
Far too often, the lads at the back are looked over and ignored in favour of players who occupy more glamorous roles, and it does make for a refreshing change to see a defensive talent given his due.
But now, in a flagrant act of hypocrisy, these are the reasons that Harry Kane can feel hard done for missing out on the award.
In all seriousness, nobody can deny that Dias was a worthy recipient, but the England captain must be wondering what more he had to do to pique the judges’ interest.
Not only does he lead the goal-scoring charts, as he so often does, but he’s also diversified his game this season to become a more three-dimensional attacking threat.
The 27-year-old has complemented his 22 goals with 13 assists this term, and also leads the division in that regard too.
Of Spurs’ 64 Premier League goals, Kane has been directly involved in 35 of them – a total of 54.7%. By comparison, Old Trafford darling Bruno Fernandes has been involved in 42.2% of Manchester United’s goals in the top flight this season.
Of course, the big argument that is often hurled at Kane, like a stinger across the path of a speeding getaway vehicle, is that he doesn’t win trophies… like, never.
Granted, that is true, and 2020/21 has once again seen the forward and his teammates come up short in a (fairly) major final, losing to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup at Wembley back in April.
But honestly, what more can Kane do? At the end of the day, he’s only human, and aside from him and perhaps Son Heung-Min, is there a single Tottenham Hotspur player who can genuinely come out of this campaign with their head held high?
For too long, Kane has cut a Sisyphean figure, hauling this hulking burden of a below par side up a sheer cliff face, only to see it tumble right the way back down to the bottom despite his best efforts.
If anything, the Spurs talisman should be lauded for his individual achievements, rather than punished because for the relative uselessness of his colleagues.
When all is said and done, the award is for Player of the Year, not Team of the Year.
Undoubtedly, Dias deserves to bask in the glow of his win, but had Kane picked up the award, he surely would have too.