Four contenders emerge in fierce debate for Port Vale player of the year



Who is your Port Vale player of the year?

The choice was straightforward last season when keeper Scott Brown swept the board after playing a huge role in keeping the club in the Football League.

But the competition is much tighter this time after John Askey turned the Vale into play-off contenders before the campaign was halted with them just a point outside the top seven.

So, we put the question to supporters on our dedicated Port Vale Facebook page, and received a terrific response as fans had their say.

Chris Wardle reflected the close competition by saying: “Can we make an exception in this exceptional season and give the Player of the year award to all of them because at one time or another they’ve all played out of their skin. Just look at the league position compared to last season.”

I’m afraid not Chris. Someone needs to be player of the year….and wide midfielder Dave Worrall is favourite in the eyes of some fans after his consistent performances this season, usually on the right or left of Askey’s front three.

Mark Wightman made the case, saying: “David Worrall for me, his energy levels have been insane this season. Produced consistently and the stats have shown just how well he’s played. Closely followed by Joyce, Monty, Legge and obviously Brown. Spoilt for choice this season.”

Glen Manby agrees. He says: “There are a quite a few you could think of such as Scott Brown, Jake Taylor, Leon Legge, Luke Joyce to name a few.

“But for me it has to be David Worrall, his work rate has been immense this season, he’s covered every blade of grass, defended and rolled his sleeves up when he’s had to, created quite a few goals and also chipped in with a few too.

“It was a close call between Scott Brown, Luke Joyce and David Worrall but for me I think Worrall just edged it.”

Tom Pope made the case for Nathan Smith in his Sentinel and StokeonTrentLive column last week, saying a player he believes has been underrated by some is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Rob Irving would also go for the home-grown centre half, from Madeley.

He said: “Smith for me. The fact that he never seems to stand out says it all for me. He just gets on and does what he does, week in, week out. First name on the team sheet, rarely misses a game, even rarer that he is dropped. He is just outstandingly consistent.”

But what about Smith’s central defensive partner Leon Legge? He became captain this season and has had a terrific campaign, starting every single one of Vale’s 37 league games, chipping in with four goals and preventing countless others at the other end.

Dan Cawley concurs. He said:  “Leggey for me this season. So many contenders but he has been an ever present rock at back and leader since he became captain.”

Zack Fenton sums up just how close a call this is. He says: “For me it’s out of Wozza or Legge or Joyce. All have been so consistent.

“With Wozza you have his tracking back and energy levels, he never stops running or trying help out his midfield or defence.

“Joyce has been a complete transformation from the player who first signed to this season. Unbelievable. He’s an absolute rock in the midfield sitting in front of the back four and his passing has been tremendous,

“Legge what else can you say other than domination in the air and an absolute rock in the back four. A real leader.”

There is much support for Luke Joyce who started 36 of the 37 league games. He was suspended for the Walsall match in December –  the only time the Vale were beaten at home in the league.

Dave Clay says the holding midfielder should get the award.

He explained: “Joyce, pips Worrall as he was the vital cog for the side. No one can replace him, he wins the ball and gets us moving, allows others to drive forward and organises the side.

“Young player has to be Taylor, he’s been fantastic, energy levels very high, good eye for a pass as well as a goal.”

Gareth Paul Toft is also a fan of the former Carlisle and Accrington man, who has just signed a new 12 month deal at Vale Park.

He said: “Luke Joyce. He’s run the midfield, helped and organized the young midfielders around him and they also looked really good. All the good play and good games was run through him and, even though he didn’t score many and not many assists, he kept everything ticking at the heart of the midfield.”

Dillon Kimberley agrees: “For me it’s got to be Joyce. A very consistent, steady player in the team. So very rarely puts a foot wrong and has been massively integral in to how we play. He does the simple things right and he doesn’t over complicate things. He’s just been fantastic all season and we’ve really struggled without him.

“Could so easily make the exact same argument for Worrall. Both have been exceptional this season to me.”





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