Sir Alex Ferguson has identified four strong candidates for Manchester United's player of the season award and is struggling to pick out just one name.

From his Premier League winning side, the Scot believes David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie are all strong candidates for the club award.

Just the Brazilian full back was omitted from the PFA Team of the Year announced on Sunday evening, where United were represented by four players, with Rio Ferdinand also taking a spot in the selected XI. However the 34-year-old centre half was left of Ferguson's contenders, despite enjoying a fine campaign for the league winners.

"I think we've got two developing players, first of all in Rafael and David de Gea," Ferguson told the club's official website. "They have had outstanding seasons.

"Then there is Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie. That is the four and I wouldn't like to choose between them. I think they have definitely elevated themselves this season. "

Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie, one of Sir Alex Ferguson's selected in action against former club Arsenal. (Reuters)

Both van Persie and Carrick were nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award alongside Liverpool's Luis Suarez, Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, and Tottenham's Gareth Bale, with the Welshman scooping the award on Sunday evening.

Although considered an outside bet for the award, Carrick has been on the receiving end of his share of recognition after an impressive season in the heart of Manchester United's midfield, having started more games in the centre of the park than any other player in the United squad.

Meanwhile, both Rafael and de Gea enjoyed campaigns where they have cemented their statuses as genuine first team players.

Having previously been rotated with Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard last season and during the early months on the current campaign, de Gea has firmly claimed the position of United's number one custodian following a campaign defined by crucial saves in pivotal games.

Rafael meanwhile has shaken off an impetuous streak that occasionally marred his game and firmly taken the right back slot for his own.

All of Ferguson's earmarked candidates are in line to lift the award for the first time, which was awarded to Antonio Valencia last season.