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Gareth Bale leads the chase for PFA Player of the Year

The Professional Footballers’ Association has announced its six-man shortlist for the Player of the Year award, with Gareth Bale the odds-on favourite with the bookmakers to win the award for a second time.

Tottenham winger Bale is joined on the list by Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and midfielder Michael Carrick, Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, plus Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.

Bale and Hazard are also nominated for the Young Player award, along with Jack Wilshere of Arsenal, West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku (on loan from Chelsea), Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck and Aston Villa hotshot Christian Benteke.

Player of the Year 2013 Nominees

Van Persie is the awards current holder, after being honoured last year following a highly impressive campaign for Arsenal.

The Dutchman has scored 25 goals in all competitions since making the move to Manchester United, with three coming in the club’s Champions League campaign.

His 90th minute winner against Manchester City, hat-trick against Southampton and 20 league goals, all in his first campaign in Manchester United, has seen Van Persie become a fan’s favourite and hot contender for the award.

However, Bale is the bookmaker’s current favourite to win this season’s accolade. The Welsh-man was crowned in 2011 but has hit career-best form this term, with his thrilling bursts of speed and 17 Premier League goals inspiring Tottenham’s Champions League charge.

Eden Hazard has netted 12 times for Chelsea in his first season since joining from Lille for £32m, while Mata’s influence has grown in his second term at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard contributing a league-best 10 assists as well as 18 goals.

Suarez may long have courted controversy but Liverpool’s No.7 has made the back pages for more of the right reasons in Brendan Rodgers’ debut campaign at Anfield with a league-leading 22 goals and 29 in all competitions.

Michael Carrick is perhaps the most surprising name to have made the final list of nominees. The 31-year-old has been a key figure for the Premier League leaders this season, making 41 appearances, proving to be a constant stabiliser in a rotating United midfield.

Young Player of the Year 2013 Nominees

Wilshere has returned from his ankle injury and helped kick-start Arsenal’s flagging season to push the Gunners into contention for the Premier League top four.

The other home-grown player on the list, Manchester United forward Welbeck, has been one of the first names on Sir Alex Ferguson’s team-sheet in big matches, assuming a wide role and drawing praise from his manager for his teamwork, despite netting just one Premier League goal.

Benteke has been the shining light in a poor season at Villa Park, consigning former England striker Darren Bent to the sidelines as his strong physique and deft finishes have delighted fans, and the striker will be a main reason if Villa avoid the drop.

Chelsea are represented on the list twice – but Romelu Lukaku’s nomination is down to his performances while on loan at West Brom. Lukaku has one of the best minutes-to-goal ratio in the league, netting 13 times for Steve Clarke’s side in a string of impressive displays.

Have your say! Who do you think deserves each award? Do you think there is anyone else who should have been included?

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