23 May 2011

Poll Results: Young Player of the Season

Today, a celebration of the wonder that is Martin Kelly, more than doubling the vote of his closest contender despite being injured since February. Tomorrow, we'll have results for Goal of the Season on Paisley Gates in the morning and Performance of the Season on Anfield Asylum in the afternoon (all times relative to me, which means US Eastern Time).

Below you'll find justification for why some of the bloggers and our guest editors voted the way we did.

Amy of A Football Report:
Martin Kelly: Months and months of declaring Glen Johnson a shit, right-sided Ashley Cole-wannabe who would have trouble dealing with Emile Heskey, let alone the more agile attacking players of the Premier League, eventually paid off when his wife went into labour (falsely, you could tell he really just didn't want to be penned in by Giggs) on Kenny's first day. That ludicrously refereed FA Cup match at Old Trafford. Step in Martin Kelly, long heralded as the next big, Scouse thing and it was clear why. Giggs and Evra were so well taken after by the 21 year old that, at some point, seemingly unnoticed, Sir Alex Ferguson replaced them both with Howard Webb (and sadly not even Kelly is a match for him). Of course, that wasn't Kelly's first game, nor would it be his last, and he's impressed in the patches he played before, and consistently ever since. Flanagan is obviously hot on his heels, Spearing's been quietly morphing into Danny Murphy with somehow even less hair, and even Jack Robinson made Theo Walcott look like a schoolchild (which, incidentally, is how he always looks) – I believe that children are the future, but for me, Kelly's rise and rise is the blueprint for the others to aspire to.

Gareth of Well Red:
Martin Kelly: A young player. A locally-born player. When either gets near the first-team, it sparks extra excitement among the fans. Spending £30million on a proven world superstar is one thing, but there's something special - something pure - about a raw rookie mixing it with the big boys and proving his worth. Kelly, 21, and born in Whiston Hospital, just like Steven Gerrard (and, er Joey Barton), has done just that. Many that have passed through Anfield have been tipped for the top before quickly falling by the wayside. Kelly though, isn't one to freeze in the spotlight. If anything, the bigger the occasion, the better he's played. Powerful, pacy and assured, he's proved to be a match for anyone he's faced - and that's included Chelsea and the Mancs. And for all the talk of Liverpool needing better crossing quality in the side to feed the forehead of Andy Carroll, look no further than Kelly, he whips in a mean ball. If he can steer clear of injury, Kelly has a long future at Liverpool.

nate of Oh You Beauty:
John Flanagan: I'll be the contrarian. Martin Kelly is so six months ago, if not last year. What have you done for me lately? Shut down Samir Nasri? No problem. Knock your captain and defensive mentor unconscious? Whatever. Somehow get called for a penalty-that-clearly-wasn't by a suspiciously incompetent referee with your team already behind? Brushed off his shoulder like errant dirt. Yeah, Flanagan's the money pick. So money.

Noel of Liverpool Offside:
Martin Kelly: For the past 18-odd months, it's been Martin Kelly who has looked most likely to break the drought and become a difference maker out of the academy. And while the second half of the season may have brought a whole slew of other possibilities to the table—from the likes of Spearing, Flanagan, and Shelvey through even younger prospects such as Jack Robinson, Conor Coady, Andre Wisdom, and Raheem Sterling—Kelly remains the safest bet to become a difference maker for the club moving forward. When next season rolls around—along with likely squad-wide reinforcements—it is Kelly and not the other candidates who will be competing for time in the first eleven. That isn't a fluke: It's entirely down to how well he played throughout much of the second half of the season. So maybe some day it will be another of the current crop of kids who is the bigger star, but right now the only certain name based on this year's showing is Kelly, and that makes him Liverpool's clear Young Player of the Season.

Sam of Anfield Asylum:
Martin Kelly: While Spearing and Flanagan had nice turns, only Kelly looks like he'll be in the first 11 when things kick off next season. So he'd have to be the most important. Gets forward just about as much as Glen Johnson, but doesn't appear to be on quaaludes in his own half as Johnson frequently does. Never awed by any of the big guns he saw. Sadly, fullback is just about the last priority on any team's list, but at least we have it settled.

steven. of Paisley Gates:
Martin Kelly: He’s young, he’s local and he’s going to be a hero. Martin Kelly was forced into Roy Hodgson’s squad due to injury and only an injury was able to force him out. Young Flanagan, Andy Carroll and Jay Spearing were all good shouts for this category but Kelly has run away with the picnic basket on this one. Cool as a cucumber and ten times as tasty, this young Scouser has us all coming back for seconds.

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