Awards night is a chance to make history at United
The polls have closed, the votes are in and a history-making night at the Manchester United end-of-season awards lies ahead of us.
Tonight’s showpiece is especially tantalising, as whoever claims the two most prestigious prizes on offer – the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year and the Players’ Player of the Year – will go down in Manchester United history, for different reasons.
The Busby-named award, voted for by the fans, has several deserving candidates, and each of the frontrunners are on the brink of their own special achievements.
The Spaniard lost his crown to compatriot Ander Herrera last season, but has every chance of reclaiming the title after yet another fantastically consistent year.
Academy graduate Jesse Lingard could become the first homegrown player to win since Ryan Giggs did so in 1998. The 25-year-old has enjoyed his best campaign to date, notching 13 goals and becoming an increasingly influential presence in Jose Mourinho’s side.
Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic are not yet 12 months into their time at the club, but either could become the first to win the honour in a debut season since Robin van Persie did so in 2013.
Your 2017 winnersGallery
Flick through 20 photos from our last prize-giving night at Old Trafford.
This award can often go to one of the more unsung heroes, such as Valencia last year and Chris Smalling in 2016, who turn in the kind of consistent performances that rarely grab the headlines but earn them high respect from their peers.
Phil Jones recently suggested that Ashley Young was among those deserving of recognition.
“He’s a player who doesn’t get the plaudits that he should do,” said United’s no.4. “Maybe because he’s older, or because he plays left-back when people think he’s an attacking player. Everyone writes him off – you see it in the newspapers every day – but he produces every single time.”
Could Young emerge as the players’ choice tonight?
Lingard’s solo slalom at Watford, Matic’s last-gasp volley at Crystal Palace and Valencia’s stunning Everton strike are among the favourites.
Demetri Mitchell, Kieran O’Hara and Ethan Hamilton are the nominees for the former, with the successful starlet joining notable winners of the past such as Nicky Butt, John O’Shea and Darren Fletcher.
The Jimmy Murphy award will be contested by James Garner, Tahith Chong and Lee O’Connor, one of whom will join an elite group of former winners that includes Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Marcus Rashford.
We’re poised for a fascinating evening at Old Trafford as we find out who will be triumphant in 2018, and MUTV will take you right to the heart of the action from 18:30 BST onwards. Tune in for the best of the build-up, a host of big-name interviews and, most importantly, to find out who has claimed our five awards.
A history of greatnessGallery
21 players have been named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year - here's a whistlestop roll call of some of them.