Rooney in running for PFA gongs

Rooney could even join a very select band to lift the main PFA gong

and its young player prize in the same season. Only Andy Gray

(1997) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2007) have managed it before, with

Rooney in line to become the first player to win the award, for

players aged 23 and under at the start of the season, three times,

having already done so in 2005 and 2006. The Manchester United star

has enjoyed an outstanding season, even if it appears his success

at club level will be limited to the Carling Cup. Rooney has scored

34 goals for United this term and has catapulted himself among the

true world-class talents. Like Rooney, Arsenal skipper Cesc

Fabregas has been selected for both the main award, and the young

player of the year prize. Although he has been sidelined for the

rest of the season by injury, Fabregas held together a Gunners’

title challenge that twice seemed to have collapsed before

Tottenham almost certainly snuffed it out on Wednesday night. As

champions-elect, Chelsea were bound to have a representative, and

while he might not have hit the heights as consistently as in other

years, Didier Drogba’s goals ensured the Stamford Bridge outfit

came through their rocky patch and are now in line to become only

the seventh team to land the domestic double. Manchester City’s

emergence as a Premier League force is also confirmed by the

presence of Carlos Tevez, who has been such a pivotal figure for

the Blues since his controversial summer move from neighbours

United. Along with Rooney and Fabregas, Birmingham’s on-loan Man

City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Aston Villa midfielder are also up for

the young player award.