England's finest

We take a look at the main contenders for the England player of the year to be named on Sunday.

Last Updated: 01/02/13 at 08:42

On Sunday February 3rd, one England international will be awarded with the 2012 England Player of the Year award at St George's Park. This will be the tenth time that the Football Association has presented the award, which is decided through an online poll by England fans on FA.com.

The Three Lions played thirteen fixtures last year, with the only competitive defeat coming on penalties against Italy in the quarter finals of Euro 2012. 47 players pulled on the England shirt during this twelve months, and these have been cut to a shortlist of five players.

The Shortlist

Ashley Cole - Chelsea - 6 caps, 0 goals

Cole has been one of England's constants during the last decade. He moves closer to gaining his 100th cap after consistently solid displays have forced Leighton Baines to continue to wait for regular international football. Missed from the spot during the penalty defeat to Italy at Euro 2012, but otherwise sustained his reputation as England's Mr Dependable. It is likely that his performances will be rewarded with reaching three figures of caps for his country against Brazil at Wembley in February, quite an honour.

Steven Gerrard - Liverpool - 11 caps, 0 goals

Gerrard enjoyed something of an international renaissance during 2012. He was handed the captaincy following the appointment of Roy Hodgson, and missed just two games all year, leading out the side on ten occasions. Although he was not able to add to his tally of 19 England goals, Gerrard did enjoy a fairy tale moment in November when he won his 100th cap in the friendly against Sweden. The midfielder's performances earned him a place in UEFA's squad of the tournament for Euro 2012, England's only representative.

Joe Hart - Manchester City - 11 caps, 0 goals

Hart has quickly made the no.1 shirt his own at international level, and the 25-year-old goalkeeper enjoyed another successful year in 2012. At club level he won the Premier League title, whilst he was also able to keep five clean sheets in eleven international appearances, including two at Euro 2012. Impressively, the two friendly defeats he suffered this year to Sweden and Holland were Hart's first in an England shirt from a total of 27 appearances. Looks likely to be England's first-choice goalkeeper for the next decade.

Glen Johnson - Liverpool - 9 caps, 0 goals

Johnson was part of an England defence that kept four clean sheets during his nine appearances in 2012, but the Liverpool player is also asked to perform in an attacking role for his country. He received deserved plaudits for his marauding runs down the right wing, and his pace and passing allows him to carry out an adventurous role for the Three Lions. Comfortable on his weaker left foot, Johnson's versatility has led to him being utilised at either full back position for his club, where he picked up a League Cup winners' medal.

Danny Welbeck - Manchester United - 11 caps, 5 goals

England's breakthrough star of 2012, Welbeck managed to settle and score at both domestic and international level with impressive ease. Scored a fabulous winner against Sweden at the European Championships to help his side top the group impressively, and no England player scored more goals for his country last year than the Manchester United forward. Comfortable when asked to play out wide as part of a front three or with a strike partner (Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll in particular), Welbeck has now established himself as a firm fixture in Roy Hodgson's plans.

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W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

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arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

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e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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