Player Of The Last Ten Years Poll, Round One: Nicklas Bendtner Vs Bolo Zenden

Chris Brunskill

Round One kicks off right now, and it's not the most epic of encounters, but it sees Nicklas Bendtner take on Bolo Zenden to see who makes it through to the next round of the competition. The cases for each are here, now get voting...

Nicklas Bendtner

Let's face it: Nicklas Bendtner was awesome. Okay, so he wasn't the most mentally stable of individuals and you could occasionally wonder about his commitment levels, but in terms of sheer raw footballing quality there are few who can compete with him at Sunderland over the last ten years.

During Bendtner's single season here he was the club's top goalscorer, went to the European Championship and got himself on the goalscoring charts there in joint second two, and then signed for the Italian champions soon after.

This wasn't a player who arrived at the back end of his career, played an odd game here, scored a belter there, did a silly dance yonder, and then headed off into oblivion. He was a genuine fulcrum of the team and attracted a genuine giant of European football.

And, for all his languid demeanour and question marks over his bottle and heart, he still had the stones to step up to the plate at St James Park - or whatever the daft lopsided eyesore was called then - and tuck away a penalty.

A bit of heart, a heck of a lot of quality, a fair few goals, and a funny hat. He deserves your vote and you know it. (MG)

Bolo Zenden

There have few more worldly footballers to play in the red and white stripes than Boudewijn Zenden. Eindhoven, Barcelona, London, Merseyside and Marseille - not to mention the cultural heavyweight that is Middlesbrough - had all been privy to the talents of the Dutch midfielder before he arrived on Wearside in late 2009.

Brought to the club under Steve Bruce, Zenden oozed class. Older, of course, but also wiser, the Sunderland midfield was a poorer place without him - even if his longevity in games was vastly reduced.

The current assistant manager as Chelsea will long be remembered at Sunderland for the hilarity he induced while celebrating Asamoah Gyan's goal at Stamford Bridge, yet his crowning moment came at the Stadium of Light against Tottenham. With a cross arcing its way over his shoulder, Zenden somehow thundered a sumptuous volley into the far top corner - winning the game in an instant.

Gareth Bale would do similar a few months later at Stoke City and be feted endlessly as a result; it was a mark of Zenden's enduring quality (and a flagrant southern-based bias in the national media) that his own effort received relatively little fanfare outside the confines of the northeast. (CW)


Be sure to make your vote count and send one of these two through to the next round. Make your voice heard below, because you only have until 11pm (GMT) tonight to get your vote in...

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