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Monday, January 3, 2011
Carroll and Bale lead December shortlist

ESPNsoccernet staff

Newcastle striker Andrew Carroll and Tottenham winger Gareth Bale head the five-man shortlist for the ESPN PFA Fans Player of the Month award for December.

Carroll has seamlessly made the step up from prolific Championship marksman to Premier League striker this season, and added two more goals to his top-flight tally in December.

Having scored in Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Chelsea at the end of November, Carroll also netted a long-range belter in the Magpies' 3-1 victory over Liverpool and a trademark header in the defeat to Manchester City.

He has continued to prove a handful for Premier League defenders with his imperious aerial ability helping him to a total of 11 league goals so far this season.

Carroll will have to beat off stiff competition from, among others, Gunners midfielder Samir Nasri if he is to pick up the ESPN PFA Fans Player of the Month award for December.

Nasri, the winner of November's award, has arguably been the Premier League's standout performer in 2010-11 so far - and his influential performances continued in December. A particular highlight was his superb match-winning brace against Fulham, which included two sensational individual strikes.

Bale also finds himself on the shortlist once again and the Welsh winger has continued to be a key cog in Harry Redknapp's Spurs machine. He scored a memorable goal against Newcastle in December and remains a serious threat to top-flight defences with his searing pace and pinpoint crossing.

Having seen Asamoah Gyan nominated last month, Sunderland have another player up for the December award: Danny Welbeck. The on loan striker followed up a prolific November with another crucial goal in December with a winner against Bolton. Despite failing to fulfil Sir Alex Ferguson's prediction that he would make England's World Cup squad, Welbeck has impressed on Wearside with his intuitive running and excellent work-rate.

Making up the five-man shortlist is Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure. He may have been used as a defensive midfielder at Barcelona, but at Eastlands he provides an invaluable box-to-box presence. with his strength and poise on the ball. He contributed a vital assist for Carlos Tevez's winner against Bolton, before scoring himself in City's 3-1 win over West Brom.

• VOTE NOW for the December winner

ESPN PFA AWARD SHORTLIST - DECEMBER

Premier League:

Danny Welbeck (Sunderland)

Gareth Bale (Tottenham)

Andy Carroll (Newcastle)

Samir Nasri (Arsenal)

Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Championship:

Luciano Becchio (Leeds United)

Dorus De Vries (Swansea City)

Danny Graham (Watford)

Brett Pitman (Bristol City)

Angel Rangel (Swansea City)

League One:

Clinton Morrison (Sheffield Wednesday)

Anthony Pilkington (Huddersfield Town)

Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town)

Gary Teale (Sheffield Wednesday)

Bradley Wright-Phillips (Plymouth Argyle)

League Two:

Craig Davies (Chesterfield)

Izale McLeod (Barnet)

Adam Le Fondre (Rotherham)

Clayton Donaldson (Crewe)

Chris Dunn (Northampton)




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