Paul Merson tipping former Chelsea star for ‘Player of the Season’ nomination

Paul Merson has tipped Ross Barkley to be nominated for the ‘Player of the Season’ award, amid the midfielder’s great run of form for Luton Town.

Barkley made a surprise return to the Premier League with Luton last summer after spending the 2022-23 campaign with Nice in Ligue One, following a disappointing spell at Chelsea that lasted four years.

There were initial doubts about the ability of the 30-year-old to make an impact at Luton after the move, but he has since proved his critics wrong with his excellent contributions for Rob Edwards’ side in the Premier League this season.

His six goal contributions in the Hatters’ last eight games have helped to lift the Premier League new boys out of the drop zone, and into 17th, including a brilliant display during last weekend’s 4-4 draw with Newcastle United.

Luton are now 17th on the Premier League table after 23 games, and many are now tipping them to avoid relegation by the end of the season, including Merson, who has praised Barkley for his influence in Edwards’ side.

“Luton won’t go down. They have come up and played like they are – Championship players with an unbelievable attitude,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“They have not come up and thought they are Premier League players now and tried to play like them, rolling it around at the back. They have been amazing.

“Alfie Doughty is a very good player. The goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski makes good saves. Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo up front are a proper handful. They run the channels and close people down. Albert Sambi Lokonga has done well since he came in.

“Ross Barkley is not far off player of the season. He’s turned it around.

“When he went to Chelsea from Everton, I thought it was a good signing. But he didn’t play in the same way, he played too safe and that wasn’t him. He was bought because he can pass and dribble.

“He’s gone back to expressing himself. He’s been outstanding.”

Barkley played 100 games for Chelsea during a four-year spell with the club, scoring 12 times, and picking up 11 assists before his departure.