Following the conclusion of the pool stages of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, ERC has published a list of outstanding players from the 44 competing clubs in this season’s tournaments.
The list includes Benjamin, who has scored four tries in four appearances in this season’s Heineken Cup.
The wing made his Tigers debut in the competition away at Ravenhill before scoring two tries against Montpellier at Welford Road and two more in the game away to Treviso earlier this month.
Benjamin’s citation reads: “Back from injury, and making waves in Europe. The strong-running wing scored four tries in four games for Leicester Tigers in their push to the quarter-finals – only Chris Ashton (7) and Naipolioni Nalaga (5) have more – and made eight clean breaks.”
Benjamin is included alongside Jonny Wilkinson, last year’s winner of the award.
ERC, the governing body of European rugby’s two tournaments, said the list has been selected by a distinguished panel of rugby experts.
The Judging Panel will have the option to consider additional players who make major contributions during the knockout stages of both tournaments before announcing a five-man shortlist following the semi-finals. The overall winner will be named directly after the ERC European club finals in Cardiff in May.
In addition to the decision of the panel, the 44 clubs in the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup will have the opportunity to vote for contenders nominated on the ERC European Player of the Year 2014 shortlist while supporters can also have their say on Twitter using #ERCPlayer2014, and on the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup Facebook pages.
ERC European Player of the Year 2014 longlist
Steffon Armitage (Toulon)
Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers)
Sean Cronin (Leinster Rugby)
Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse)
Matt Giteau (Toulon)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Cian Healy (Leinster Rugby)
Fritz Lee (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
George North (Northampton Saints)
Paul O'Connell (Munster Rugby)
Peter O'Mahony (Munster Rugby)
Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
Ruan Pienaar (Ulster Rugby)
Sitiveni Sivivatu (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon)