'Ruben Dias Should Be The Frontrunner For PFA Player Of The Year Award', Says Jamie Carragher
Jamie Carragher believes Manchester City defender Ruben Dias is the leading contender for the PFA Player of the Year award.
The Portugal international joined Pep Guardiola's side from Benfica for a club-record £65 million in September, with Nicolas Otamendi moving in the opposite direction.
And Dias has wasted no time in adapting to life in the Premier League, completely transforming the team's backline in quite extraordinary fashion.
Having struggled to fill the void left by former skipper Vincent Kompany, City now looked to have find their man - with Dias an excellent defender but also a great leader and organiser despite still only being 23.
City have conceded just 13 goals in the league all season and five came in one game against Leicester in September prior to Dias making his debut against Leeds United.
Since December 15, City have let just one goal in and the league leaders' superb run of form has been built on a solid defence as opposed to a free-flowing attack.
And Carragher believes Dias is in line to become the seventh centre-back to win the coveted individual PFA award.
"Based on the criteria the award should go to someone who has had the single biggest impact on the destiny of the Premier League title," Carragher wrote in his Telegraph column.
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"That makes Dias the current frontrunner. Should City win their third title of the Pep Guardiola era - and it is difficult to see who will stop them - it will be a triumph built upon their defence.
"They have only conceded once in the Premier League since December 15, and just 13 all season. Sometimes it is too simplistic to credit all this on one player, but - as Van Dijk demonstrated when he arrived at Anfield - a top class centre-back is transformative.
"Good centre-backs can make everyone around them look better. Just as there was a period when it did not seem to matter who Jurgen Klopp played alongside Van Dijk, Guardiola now has the same luxury with Dias.
"That is not intended to downplay the renaissance of John Stones. He too deserves much of the applause for City's improved numbers.
"But when you watch the pair together, it is difficult to believe who is aged 23, and which of them is 27. For a young player, Dias' qualities as an organiser are especially impressive. Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko have also flourished since Dias joined."
Should Dias end up winning the PFA Player of the Award, he would follow in the footsteps of centre-backs Van Dijk, John Terry, Gary Pallister, Paul McGrath, Colin Todd, and Norman Hunter.
Guardiola himself has been surprised at the performance levels Dias has reached in new surroundings and recently waxed lyrical over him.
"He's not just a player who plays good, he's a player who makes the other guys play good too," Guardiola said.
"It's 90 minutes talking, 90 minutes communicating, 90 minutes leading, 90 minutes saying what they have to do in every single action. When that happens, he is undroppable."
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