Rio Ferdinand has left out Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland and Bukayo Saka from his shortlist for the Premier League Player of the Season award.

The three players have been some of the top performers in the English league this season, with a total of 69 goals and assists between them. Salah has been instrumental in taking Liverpool to the top of the Premier League, securing key wins over Arsenal and Manchester City, before he was sidelined with a hamstring injury in January.

As the title race heats up, Liverpool fans are eagerly awaiting the return of the Egyptian star. Haaland, on the other hand, has been leading the line for Pep Guardiola’s team with standout performances against Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.

Despite missing a few big chances, the Norwegian remains one of the most threatening strikers in the league. Saka has been pivotal in Arsenal’s renewed title challenge with strong displays against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool.

The Gunners nearly clinched the English championship last season, but they couldn’t handle the pressure and ended up conceding the top spot to the treble winners. Instead, Ferdinand has picked out Phil Foden and Ollie Watkins as the top players this season, leaving out other big names.

Speaking on TNT Sports before Man City’s Champions League game against FC Copenhagen, he said about Foden: “I would say yes. He is in that mix, definitely. When you think about Player of the Season, who else is there? No one is jumping off the page,”

“Ollie Watkins maybe? I think this guy is top of the tree at the moment, but there is still a long way to go in the season and you have got to produce on the home straight. He’s used to it, he’s experienced enough and he’s in the driving seat for that trophy.”

Joleon Lescott also had great things to say about Foden. The ex-Manchester City star added: “Anyone could see his ability, and anyone would have seen it.”