Trying to work it out and can't think of who it could be. Only ones anywhere near a shout would be arguably Butland, Joe and Maybe Ince on the strength of a few purple patches earlier in the season. Possibly even Jimmy Mac or Young Tommy on the basis that he at least fucking tries.
I think the problem with Joe is that he tries to do the work of 2 men, which leaves him exposed if he looks to charge out of position, especially considering no-one around him has any clue of how to cover. That, and the fact he's only little, which leaves him vulnerable to being bullied out of games.
I think people struggle with this question because for the first time for many, lets up many to the most, most of us have no affinity to the club anymore let alone the players. How can we take pride in any player when they are not proud to play for us? How can I even say I am proud of Stoke City FC when really deep down I am so dejected by it all. The Stoke we know left town a long time ago, this is like some bad movie we are forced to watch over and over. Like we are living I some surreal Black Mirror episode. Give the award to someone in the boothen end
Where would we be without Joe Allen this season? The only player to consistently 'Put the effort in and chipped in with a few goals' probably worth 6-8 pts and without them we'd be in Corporal Jones mode. Can't argue with anyone answering OP with his name the way things have panned out.
Where would we be if we hadn't signed him in the first place? A player we didn't need, a player who isn't particularly outstanding in any midfield role, a player who has the touch of a rapist. Probably still enjoying the Premier League.
Usually when a season's been as poor as this one, the award tends to go to the player who looks most like he gives a shit, like Justin Whittle in the late 90s. This season though, there seems to be a potential stumbling block to this.