Former England international Stan Collymore has named an Arsenal player as his English player of the season thus far, and his reasoning why is somewhat obscure.
Many people’s automatic selection for English player of the season so far would be Jude Bellingham. Indeed, the 20-year-old had a lot to live up to on the back of his colossal €103m (£88.5m) transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid over the summer.
However, as Bellingham always seems to do, he’s taken the new challenge in his stride.
The 26-cap England ace has been an instant hit in Spain, notching a remarkable 10 goals in his first 10 matches for the club. Clearly, playing at the tip of a midfield diamond has unlocked his true goalscoring potential.
Another candidate for the would-be award is Harry Kane. Like Bellingham, Kane has taken quickly to his new surroundings in Bavaria and has returned nine goals and five assists in his first 10 appearances for Bayern Munich.
However, according to former England and Liverpool striker, Stan Collymore, it’s Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka who sits top of the class.
Saka a worthy selection, but for curious reason
When speaking to Caught Offside, Collymore acknowledged Bellingham’s impact at the Bernabeu, though explained why he chose Saka.
In Collymore’s eyes, Saka overcoming his penalty miss heartache with England in the Euro 2020 final is a key factor that must be considered.
While Saka’s form since that incident has been superb, it’s somewhat strange to see it referenced given it happened over two years ago in July 0f 2021.
Indeed, Saka proved he could overcome the heartache over when notching 43 goal contributions over the course of the previous two Premier League campaigns.
Nevertheless, few would argue against Saka being named English player of the season so far given his four goals and two assists have helped thrust Arsenal into the position of joint-leaders with Tottenham.
“The reason I’ve chosen Saka is because he’s not allowed missing the penalty for England, which is only two years ago, to affect him.
“Being a particularly young man, a relative rookie, he’s already being thought of as the top man, the game changer at Arsenal and he’s taking that all on board whilst scoring goals and creating chances. Just brilliant.
“I could equally say Jude Bellingham as my pick for the season’s best player so far. What an incredible start for life at the world’s biggest football club.
“His trajectory – Birmingham-Dortmund-Madrid – has always been forward. That dude has also very cleverly done well to escape the spotlight.
“He comes back and plays for England and if he plays poorly, he goes back to Madrid and plays well. Nobody’s really going to care if you play poorly.
“For Saka at Arsenal, he’s still the top man, and he’s still doing it with the England squad.
“He’s been absolutely exceptional for me, and I’m really looking forward to him scoring the match-winner in a semi-final or a final which would completely banish the memories of his penalty miss.”