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Roker Report End Of 2016 Awards - SAFC's Best Player

2017 is here, another tumultuous year is behind us. Yet another one will certainly unfold in the coming weeks and months. But, its the big one - who did you vote as Sunderland's 'best player' of 2016?

Liverpool v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In Fourth Place...

Jan Kirchhoff

Fourth out of four isn't bad, well actually its last technically but still - well done to Jan for gaining a nomination for keeping fit long enough to earn a nomination.

We jest - Jan Kirchhoff was sublime for three months last season. Following his bow as contender for worst ever Premier League debut shortly after his January arrival, Kirchhoff was soon deployed as the ultimate anchor man patrolling ahead of the back four with a class not often seen at Sunderland.

Southampton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Rewarded for his showings with a PFA Player of the Month award in April, Jan Kirchhoff proved to be a snip at £750,000 regardless of what comes in 2017 for the 'Big Jorman'.

Jan was Man of the Match for our home game with Manchester City - a display which Sam Allardyce hailed as the "best by any midfielder in the Premier League this season". He also produced MOTM displays against West Brom and West Ham and was outstanding against Arsenal, Norwich and Stoke. Against everyone else he was just bloody good.

In Third Place...

Lamine Kone

Lamine was roughly the best centre-half in the Premier League in the final few months of season 2015/16. Who could forget his imperious performances at the heart of Big Sam's central defence and he will always be remembered for that thunderous goal which restored the Roker Roar for one night in May at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Then Lamine Kone went feral in the summer and, in truth, it's difficult to reconcile the ridiculous behaviour and the shocking showings this season with the monster centre-back he was mere months before. We may well have seen the back of him, but the Ivorian has written his teeny piece of Sunderland history for his part in the survival story 2016.

In Second Place...

Jordan Pickford

The ultimate mackem-mover and the England goalkeeper in waiting. The whole world of football lies at the feet of the lad from Washington who still likes a sly burger and a bit of hardcore rave in his git big Range Rover.

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Jordan Pickford has been Sunderland's joint-best player this season. The fact that there isn't anyone bar him and our other point-winning player, Mr Defoe, to pick from this campaign reinforces how good he has been - because Pickers has rescued stuff from matches his elder colleagues in front of him would have lost.

He's made countless crucial saves and his distribution is the best we have likely ever seen at Sunderland from a 'keeper. Anyone who witnessed that goddam mess produced by his now understudy, Vito Mannone, at Burnley yesterday knows just how long this eight weeks or so is going to be without him.

And The Winner Is...

Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe scored 20 goals in 2016. Twenty! In a more-often-than-not dire Sunderland side which traditionally creates next to nothing in attacking chances. In fact, the former (and possibly still future) England striker has been responsible for nearly half of all of the goals we scored in the 2016 calendar year.

Sunderland v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Defoe kept Sunderland in the Premier League last season and has scored 9 this campaign already. Heaven only knows what we will do without him. In truth, if he does leave no one could really blame him but it would be the legacy on the legend if he sees out his English league career in a Sunderland shirt.