It’s been a great team effort this season. Many players have made significant contributions to the cause: Christian Walton, Chey Dunkley, Michael Jacobs, and Max Power have been impressive but five players have really stood out for me.
My top five players of the season in reverse order are:
5. Will Grigg – Hampered by injury in the close season the prolific striker didn’t get a full pre-season and struggled to hit early form. However, when he regained his sharpness he proved that he is the most reliable marksman in League One.
The Northern Ireland international has scored an incredible 67 goals in his last five seasons. He is currently on 25 for this season and who would bet against him breaking the 30 mark before the end of this season?
He has now achieved a remarkable quadruple by making it four promotions in the last five seasons to the Championship. He was promoted with Brentford in 2014, MK Dons in 2015, Latics in 2016 and now in 2018.
His magnificent finish to knock Manchester City out of the FA Cup will go down as one of the most iconic goals in recent FA Cup history.
4. Nick Powell – The talented midfielder is Latics most creative player and most of their best moves revolve around this fragile genius. Powell has it all, left foot, right foot, tackling, shooting and heading, just a complete footballer.
15 goals so far this season but it would surely have been many more if he hadn’t been plagued by injury. Currently valued at around £10m, Powell showed his commitment to the Latics cause by turning down a very lucratic move to Brighton in the transfer window.
3. Nathan Byrne – Questions were asked about the full-back at the start of the season but the former Spurs youth player has shown great improvement under Paul Cook and has been an almost ever present in the team.
Byrne has a tremendous engine with great pace, he gets forward and contributes to many of Latics’ best attacks but he has also been a resolute and reliable defender. Recently selected as the only Latics player in the EFL Football Manager Team of the Season, which just shows what a great impression he has made.
2. Samy Morsy – The club captain and what a consistent performer he has been throughout the campaign. The tough-tackling midfielder has led by example and made an outstanding contribution to a fantastic season.
He has not only protected the defence but has been the instigator of Latics set-up play from midfield. The Eqyptian international will be hoping to break into the World Cup team but Latics’ fans will be a little fearful that he doesn’t do too well, or he could attract serious interest from Premier League clubs in the close season.
1. Dan Burn – The towering rock at the centre of the defence he has been Latics’ most consistent performer this season. The winner of the Player of the Season in the Championship he would be my choice for the award this time around as well.
Burn has been an almost ever present making so many important defensive blocks, tackles and headers and contributing six goals to the cause. With his central defensive partner Chey Dunkley he has played a major role in Latics’ amazing defensive record.
The team has only conceded a miserly 28, which is the best in the Football League and only Manchester City and Manchester United in the Premier League have conceded fewer goals. This superb defensive record has been the foundation of what should prove to be a title-winning season.
This article was first published in the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 27th April 2018.