The Premier League season reached a dramatic conclusion at both ends of the table on Sunday afternoon. With the action now done and dusted for another few months, Sportsmail columnist PETER CROUCH has selected his favourite players and moments in his end-of-season awards.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
It’s got to be Mohamed Salah, that has to be the general consensus.
The sheer volume of goals (23) and assists (14) and that relentlessness to be at his maximum. Looking at Liverpool, I absolutely love Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk’s the best around at centre half but Salah brings that extra edge to them every week.
To contribute those numbers as the talisman of that team means he has to win player of the year.
Mohamed Salah is Liverpool’s talisman with incredible goal and assist returns this season
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Declan Rice deserves it – and at 23 just qualifies!
He is the heartbeat of that West Ham team and I like players who go out there with a smile on their face and look like they’re enjoying it.
He’s gone from being a holding midfielder, a sitter, to become this dynamic player who is capable of doing all that defensive stuff but can go past people and take a game on.
West Ham’s European journey was largely down to him and I think he is a future England captain.
Declan Rice has matured into a dynamic midfielder and is a future England captain
I think Conor Gallagher is a fair shout here. He has been given praise this year, especially after his England recognition, but how often would we be talking about this lad if he wore a Liverpool or Manchester City shirt?
He’s had a terrific season at Crystal Palace and it’ll be interesting to see what Chelsea do with him from here.
Special mentions in this category for Mateo Kovacic, Anthony Gordon and Joel Matip.
Conor Gallagher (left) has been an unsung hero this season during his Crystal Palace loan
PLAYER I’D GO FOR A PINT WITH…
This is in danger of becoming the Declan Rice Awards but I’d be lying if I picked anybody else.
I’ve met him a couple of times. He’s a funny lad, good company and I like people who have a standing in the game but retain a humbleness with it.
Declan hasn’t forgotten to smile. That’s the way I approached the game – we are lucky to be there – and Declan realises that. It comes across that way. His personality shines through.
BEST DRESSED BOSS
There are a lot of tracksuits knocking about. The return of the trackies!
Plenty of casual clothes in the Premier League and nobody really stands out.
That will all change in August though with Scott Parker coming back up with Bournemouth. Scott will add a bit of additional glamour to proceedings. Loves a cardigan.
Cardigan fan Scott Parker will raise sartorial standards among Premier League managers
Well, all of them whinge – especially the top managers. Jurgen Klopp probably just edges it.
The biggest characters are winners: Ferguson, Mourinho, Benitez were always like that. It’s always everybody else’s fault when they lose, none of them accept defeat well. I don’t think any of the current crop cover themselves in glory when they lose.
And that’s because they are winners. It’s cracking TV, isn’t it? You hang on for their interviews.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp loves to have a moan but only because he’s a born winner
BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE
Harry Kane at Manchester City in February. Sensational display. Tottenham won 3-2 that day and most of it was down to Harry.
I’ve never seen anyone play as a target man, a goalscoring centre forward, while spraying passes and dictating the game from midfield in a 90 minutes. He can do everything and that afternoon was absolute proof.
Harry Kane was magnificent when Tottenham got the better of Manchester City in February
In the studio, Rio Ferdinand gets a hell of a lot more than me! Trying to get through Leeds alongside Rio was an experience the other week.
What did tickle me was standing on the away terrace at Dorking when watching Dulwich Hamlet.
You know the chant where fans are, let’s say, disparaging about their surroundings and then finish it with ‘I wanna go home’?
Well, Dulwich were singing: ‘This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, I wanna go home!’ Brilliant.
Peter Crouch pictured at his old club Dulwich Hamlet during a photoshoot for Sportsmail
FUNNIEST TV MOMENT
The studio at Elland Road is incredibly low – a bit of an occupational hazard for me!
Everybody found that very amusing. I did embarrass myself with Jake Humphrey again. He asked me if I could name the last Liverpool player to score in a Champions League final (obviously Divock Origi).
I wasn’t listening properly and said ‘me’! I’d been burned by not knowing the answer to a question that was actually me the year before and the way Jake asked this one made me think he was stitching me up. In the end, I did that myself.
Divock Origi hit Liverpool’s second in the 2019 Champions League final… not you, Peter!
There are a lot of top pundits but I always enjoy listening to Owen Hargreaves. Owen has a different take on it all.
He’s very, very good on the European leagues – especially the German and French teams that others might not watch as much.
We all really respect Owen because he talks a lot of sense and has been doing it a long time now. A class act.
Owen Hargreaves is a true ‘class act’ as a pundit and appears on BT Sport’s coverage
BIGGEST WIND-UP MERCHANT
The art of winding people up is sadly dying out. Antonio Rudiger and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have it in their lockers but there can only be one winner.
Aaron Ramsdale, step forward. If only for what I like to call his ‘Keowning’ of Bruno Fernandes after his missed penalty in April. Right in his face celebrating.
Aaron is quite proud of that side of his game, having a bit of banter with supporters and showing his character.
But he is concerned about falling out with fans everywhere if he wants to become England No 1!
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale ‘Keowned’ Man United’s Bruno Fernandes after a penalty miss
Ramsdale roared right into Fernandes’ face, just like Keown once did to Ruud van Nistelrooy
Right, I’ll give you a damning answer to this: I barely know who any of them are. I don’t care. I’d never analyse anything about the referees after matches when playing and I try not to pay too much attention to them now.
MOST BAFFLING DECISION
Paul Pogba considering going to Manchester City was mind-blowing – and them considering him, too. I don’t know how he even gets close to a move to City after his performances for Manchester United over the years.
There is also the fear of a backlash element to it all as well. I can understand the uncertainty about switching clubs in the same city – Luis Figo and Sol Campbell are pretty good examples of what can happen with supporters.
Pogba is better served heading elsewhere. As an aside, I still think Burnley sacking Sean Dyche was a really bad call for the long-term at Turf Moor.
How could Paul Pogba hope to get a game for Man City having been so poor for Man United?