Paul Merson backs Chelsea flop as a contender for player of the season, claiming the Premier League star has ‘turned things around and is now expressing himself’

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Paul Merson is backing a former Chelsea flop as one Premier League star who could be in contention to become the 2023-24 player of the season. 

Manchester City‘s Erling Haaland was named the Premier League’s best player for the 2022-23 campaign after scoring a whopping 36 league goals during his debut season in England and also took home the PFA Players’ Player prize.

The race for the top individual awards is set to be closer this time around, although Haaland will still be the favourite.

The Norwegian is level on the Premier League goalscoring charts with Mohamed Salah as they both have 14. 

Liverpool‘s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Arsenal‘s Declan Rice could be among the other contenders for the season’s main individual prizes but Merson has named Ross Barkley as a surprise candidate.

Paul Merson has named a former Chelsea flop as a surprise contender for ‘player of the season’ 

Haaland is currently first as the League's top scorer, having found the back of the net 14 times so far this season

Mohamed Salah is also in contention to win the award having also scored 14 goals this campaign

Erling Haaland (left) was crowned the Premier League’s player of the season for 2022-23

Declan Rice is another player who could be in the running for the player of the season award

Declan Rice is another player who could be in the running for the player of the season award

The 30-year-old, who has enjoyed spells with Everton, Leeds Aston Villa and Chelsea in the past, departed England to join Nice 2022 after the Blues decided against renewing his contract. 

It came after Barkley had struggled to break into the Chelsea team, featuring just 14 times for the Blues before being released.

But this season Barkley has bounced back and has been a standout in midfield for Luton, notably scoring and providing an assist in their 4-4 draw against Newcastle on Saturday

Ross Barkley is not far off player of the season,’ Merson wrote in his column for Sky Sports. ‘He’s turned it around.’

‘When he went to Chelsea from Everton, I thought it was a good signing. But he didn’t play in the same way, he played too safe and that wasn’t him. He was bought because he can pass and dribble.

‘He’s gone back to expressing himself. He’s been outstanding.’ 

Barkley has been praised for his cool and assured performances at the heart of Luton’s midfield this season that have helped Rob Edwards’ side climb out of the relegation zone. 

While the England international is back to thriving in the top-flight, Merson also predicted that the Premier League newcomers will not be relegated this season.  

‘Luton won’t go down. They have come up and played like they are – Championship players with an unbelievable attitude,’ he said.

Merson stated that Luton's Ross Barkley could be a contender for 'player of the season'

Merson stated that Luton’s Ross Barkley could be a contender for ‘player of the season’ 

The 30-year-old has returned to English football this season after he was released by Chelsea in 2022

The 30-year-old has returned to English football this season after he was released by Chelsea in 2022 

Barkley has been a standout for Luton in midfield this season, with Merson stating he feels the England international can help guide them to safety this season

Barkley has been a standout for Luton in midfield this season, with Merson stating he feels the England international can help guide them to safety this season 

‘They have not come up and thought they are Premier League players now and tried to play like them, rolling it around at the back. They have been amazing.’

The Hatters currently sit 17th in the table, just one point clear of the relegation zone, having won two and drawn two of their last five league matches.

They next face Sheffield United on Saturday before going on a tough run of games against Man United, Liverpool, Man City and Aston Villa. 




Source From: Football | Mail Online

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