JAMES SHIELD: Why it’s better to use your vote carefully

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FOOTBALLERS can often be pretty disparaging about us media types.

Not when it comes to using their clout to pinch our jobs.

(How on earth those wielding power at the BBC believe Robbie Savage is a better at fronting a radio show than, say, Mark Pougatch or even the ever so slightly self-satisfied John Inverdale simply beggars belief).

But enough to dismiss even the faintest whiff of criticism by declaring we know nothing because we’ve “never played the game”.

The type of insular tosh which keeps us in the sporting Dark Ages.

So forgive Talking Sport a moment of self-indulgence.

Because, when it comes to selecting a player-of-the-year, I reckon we quite clearly know enough to make a better fist of things than those who make football their living.

Okay, there are times when the PFA and FWA, (that’s the Football Writers’ Association), agree on who should receive their respective awards.

Wayne Rooney quite rightly won both last season. Love him or loathe him, Cristiano Ronaldo was clearly the out-standing candidate in both 2007 and 2008.

But there have recently been instances when, ignoring the fact that I’m a long-standing member, the FWA have been bang on the money and something in Manchester has gone awry.

John Terry as opposed to Frank Lampard in 2005? Steven Gerrard rather than Thierry Henry 12 months later?

The FWA’s voting slip will be landing on my doormat pretty soon but this year a decision requires more thought than usual.

It has, I think most of us who follow the beautiful game will agree, been a pretty dismal season in terms of quality if not excitement.

The usual suspects have all slipped well below the standard required to be bestowed with such an honour while young talents such as Adam Johnson and Mario Balotelli have all flattered to deceive.

Jack Wilshere, for all his undoubted ability, still possess a few rough edges while the equally gifted Josh McEachren simply is not getting enough minutes under his belt.

So, reserving the right to change my mind, I think I’m going to plump for someone a little more left-field. Someone who, despite not playing for one of the glamour teams, has been almost single-handedly responsible for keeping his club’s head above water of late.

Scored key goals. Always led by example and rarely shirks a challenge.

West Ham’s Scott Parker anyone?