After yesterday's discussion about the game of the year so far, our writers are back, this time looking at which player has caught their eye in 2017.
Jack Mumford: Jadon Sancho
It was only his 17th birthday last week. That’s something worth remembering when considering the effect Jadon Sancho has on an U18s side that has swept away all before them in the Premier League and FA Youth Cup and an U23s side challenging for the Premier League 2 title.
Often operating on the left wing and coming inside on to his stronger right foot, Sancho is usually the first player his teammates look for and his haul of 17 goals across the domestic competitions is proof that he’s an impressive option.
The England youth international is still looking to forge a career in the professional game but his form this season has promised big things and with a couple of months to go, Sancho will be hoping to end the campaign with a host of medals.
David Clayton: David Silva
Try as I might, I just can’t see past David Silva for the best player of 2017 so far, of 2016/17 to date and probably the whole season when it’s done and dusted.
When these panel opinion pieces present themselves, I probably choose Silva every time, but I’ll not make apologies.
For this year alone, it could have been Leroy Sane or Yaya Toure. Raheem Sterling wouldn’t be that far behind and Sergio Aguero has been back to his blistering best – but it is Silva who continues to make it all happen. He just makes everything tick and ensures the orchestra’s tempo is just right.
His consistency levels are outstanding – you don’t win 110 caps for Spain if you’re not one of the best in the world – and this season has been one of his very best.
Some of his passes and touches produce audible gasps from both home and away fans – I won’t forget the Bournemouth fans’ appreciative chatter and head shakes when he plucked a high pass out of the air and turned his man all in one sublime move. Or the pass that set Sterling clear against Liverpool.
Yep, Silva’s my choice for 2017 so far. I don’t think there will be too many objections…
Rob Pollard: Leroy Sane
It’s been a long time since City fans have been this excited by a new player.
Leroy Sane, who only turned 21 in January, has been outstanding in 2017, bringing a new dimension to City’s attack.
It was a slow start to life at City for the young German, signed from Schalke in the summer. Pep Guardiola has admitted the winger was perhaps overawed upon arrival, unable to stamp his personality on matches when he was given a chance.
But in the game against Arsenal in December, something clicked. Sane was unstoppable for periods, using his searing pace to great effect. He scored his first City goal and his confidence visibly grew.
And since then, it’s been rapid progression. In 2017, Sane has scored six goals in 13 games – but as impressive as those numbers are, it would be reductive to try and quantify his impact on stats alone.
He’s brought width, pace and a striking ability to go past defenders. Full-backs are scared, and when he beats them, which he so often does, he creates space for others.
With Raheem Sterling providing many of the same qualities on the other wing, City are now stretching teams, meaning the likes of David Silva (who has also had a sensational 2017) and Kevin De Bruyne have more room to create in central areas. It's a well-known Guardiola tactic - but one that's difficult to combat.
Sane’s improved form has been a key factor in City’s enhanced results since the turn of the year.
Caroline Oatway: David Silva
Has there ever been a greater player to don the sky blue shirt than David Silva? Not in my lifetime…
Blessed with vision, technique and impressive ball retention skills (the ball seems to stick to his feet!), the Spaniard is in sumptuous form for City and – free to roam in a new role – has thrived under the leadership of Pep Guardiola.
At the heart of the Blues’ best attacking moves, while also chipping in with the graft, El Mago has been weaving magic at will.
Whilst pulling the strings as the architect, the midfielder has also written his name onto the scoresheet for both club and country, having notably tried his luck with more shots per game.
Long may it continue…