Football: Leicester trio on PFA shortlist of six

Leicester City stars (from left) Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante have been shortlisted for the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year award.
Leicester City stars (from left) Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante have been shortlisted for the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year award.PHOTOS: EPA, AFP, REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Leicester City's extraordinary rise to the top of the Premier League has been recognised with the inclusion of three Foxes stars - Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante - on the shortlist for the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year award.

The Leicester trio make up half of a six-strong panel that also includes Tottenham Hotspur's 22-goal striker Harry Kane, West Ham's France star Dimitri Payet and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Oezil.

They are all in the running to succeed 2015 winner Eden Hazard, in an award which is voted for by their peers.

Kane is also a candidate to retain the Young Player of the Year award he won last year, with Spurs team-mate Dele Alli, Everton's Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, Stoke's Jack Butland and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho also vying for the honour.

Vardy is just one goal behind Kane in the race to be the Premier League's top scorer this season, while Algerian Mahrez has scored 16 goals, as well as providing 11 assists. Meanwhile Kante, recently capped by France, has won plaudits for his role as a defensive midfielder.

Payet has also had an impressive first season in the Premier League, while German Oezil has shone for Arsenal in what threatens to be a disappointing season for the Gunners.

The award winners will be announced on April 24.