Over the next few days, we'll be taking your votes for TBB's end of the season community awards. We'll get straight to the most prominent one -- Manchester United's Player of the Season. Here are your five nominees in alphabetical order:
* Michael Carrick - The man divides opinion. However, no man -- or woman -- would dispute that he's had a fine season. Well no one that isn't a bloody idiot. Some (me) would tell you he's had a terrific season. Some (Sir Alex Ferguson) would tell you that this has been his best season at the club. Since the away visit to Swansea City in November, Carrick has started every league match and during that span, he's provided tactical awareness, stability, and control. The midfielder was unavailable for the nightmare in Basel and our rhythm and shape was completely out of sorts that evening. I'd be willing to wager quite a bit that defeat would have been avoided in Switzerland had he been on the pitch.
* Jonny Evans - If you're a regular reader of this site, you've continually seen me write this-- Jonny Evans has been our best defender this season. The previously maligned central-defender has deputised admirably for Nemanja Vidic -- the world's best in the box defender and last season's TBB's community Player of the Season. Evans has been the stalwart in central-defense and he could even be brought into the discussion for the Premier League's best XI this season. He's not dominant in the air, but he's improved quite a bit in his aerial duel ability. His positioning -- which may be more important than anything else when defending -- is tremendous and his ability on the ball has allowed him to step out of the back in order to provide overloads in midfield and driving runs from deep.
* Wayne Rooney - Not only is he counted on for scoring goals, but United are dependent on him to create them as well. Rooney's 34 goals in all competitions -- which matches his career high from the 2009-10 season -- is incredibly impressive for a secondary striker. Even when he would drift out of matches at times, he often found a way to contribute by bagging a goal still or calmly hammering home a penalty. His versatility is invaluable as well as he can shift over to anywhere in attack or midfield when the occasion calls for it. It's been another very good season from our talisman but if I had one complaint, it's that his touch, passing, and decision-making let him down far too often during the run-in. I suppose I might be nitpicking though...
* Paul Scholes - He may have only played half a season, but he's in the conversation for being the league's most influential player since 2012 arrived. Scholesy cited that he no longer had his legs when he prematurely retired nearly a year ago. However, the 37-year-old looked refreshed and it was he who rejuvenated United when he made his unexpected return versus Manchester City in January during a FA Cup tie. It is perhaps only legendary maestros such as Andrea Pirlo and Xavi that rival the Ginger Prince in his ability to always make himself available to receive, dictate matches by controlling the game's rhythm and tempo, and then suddenly spray an incisive long ball that releases an attacker. What a treat it was to see Scholes return and boss the game. What a treat it'll be next season to see him do it again.
* Antonio Valencia - The Ecuadorian took all the accolades at the club's end of the season award dinner as he was voted Player of the Year by both United's fans and players. The old-fashioned winger actually compliments the modern game well as his willingness to stay near the touchline while waiting to receive helps create more space for attackers that like to operate inside. When he does receive, he's a terror as few left-backs can contain him in a 1 v 1 situation. Valencia had an injury in the summer while on national duty so it wasn't a shock to see him out of form at season's beginning after not having proper preseason training. However, he was undoubtedly United's most incisive attacker in the second half of the season and he was often the chief creator of chances during that span.
Let us know who you voted for? Let us know your reason why. Be sure to check in with us again soon so that you can continue to cast your vote for TBB's community awards. Next up, Manchester United Young Player of the Season.