LONDON • Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante have all been recognised for their pivotal roles in Leicester's unexpected Premier League title charge after being nominated for the PFA Players' Player of the Year.
The trio make up half of the six-man shortlist for the award, which is voted for by their peers.
The Foxes' run has been fuelled by 21-goal striker Vardy, while Mahrez has chipped in with 16 goals and 11 assists. Kante has gained plaudits for his defensive-midfield role.
Arsenal's Mesut Oezil is another candidate. Despite the Gunners looking unlikely to end their 12-year wait for the title, the German has almost single-handedly kept alive their faint hopes by scoring six goals and leading the assists chart with 18, two behind the all-time Premier League record.
Other nominees include Tottenham's Harry Kane, who leads the race for the golden boot with 22 goals and has inspired Spurs' surprising bid for their first title since 1961, while West Ham's Dimitri Payet, with nine goals and nine assists, has been a crucial player to the Hammers' Champions League dreams.
Kane is also in contention to retain his Young Player of the Year award and he is joined by team-mate Dele Alli, Everton duo Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, Stoke's Jack Butland and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho.
Alli, 20, joined from second-tier side Milton Keynes Dons and his eight goals and 12 assists have been instrumental to Spurs' title hopes.
Butland made 102 saves, the second most in the league, before injury ruled him out of the season.
Despite Everton's lacklustre campaign, Lukaku is in contention for the golden boot, having notched 18 goals, and Barkley has shrugged off injury concerns to put in dominating displays.
Coutinho has shone under manager Juergen Klopp's stewardship, netting seven goals and claiming six assists, while playing a key role in Liverpool's League Cup run.
The winners will be announced on April 24.