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European shortlist unearths ongoing debate

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European Player of the Year shortlist unearths ongoing debate

The European Player of the Year shortlist was whittled down to five players yesterday, and it is no surprise that it is occupied by Leinster and Saracens players.

The Champions Cup finalists have undoubtedly been the two best teams in Europe this season, and the shortlist reflects this.

The Irish side are represented by hooker Sean Cronin, prop Tadhg Furlong and centre Garry Ringrose, while Saracens’ prop Mako Vunipola and fullback Alex Goode fill the other two spaces.

Very few fans seem to object to this shortlist on Twitter, and it has been remarked upon that three front-row players are in the running for the award.

However, what has been questioned is the fact that Goode is up for the award despite perennially shunned by England.

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This how many Saracens and England fans have reacted:

Goode’s omission by England head coach Eddie Jones has been a hot topic for debate this season, given his wonderful form. The fullback has been imperious at the back for the English champions, and his ability to slot in at fly-half only makes him more valuable for whomever he plays for.

However, despite having played for England 21 times, the fullback has only earned two caps under Jones, with his last in 2016. He is part of a cohort of players that are performing superbly this season to no avail. Gloucester’s Danny Cipriani is another player that is struggling to work his way into national contention, despite showing some of the best form in England. With the World Cup rapidly approaching, they both have precious little time to make an impression.

But while Cipriani’s off-field antics in the past have hampered his international progress, Goode has been squeaky clean, leaving fans all the more baffled as to why he has not been selected.

This would not be the first time that an Englishman has won the award despite being excluded from the national team. In fact, it has happened to Johnny Wilkinson, Steffon Armitage and Nick Abendanon.

However, the distinction would be that those three were all plying their trade in France when they won the award. Despite calls for a change in policy, those players were ineligible to play for England and they knew that. However, this may be the first time that a player based in England wins the award despite not featuring for his country.

Looking at what many have said on social media, Goode looks to be the favourite to scoop the coveted award, and many will hope that is decisive factor that Jones needs to eventually pick him.

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European Player of the Year shortlist unearths ongoing debate