Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has claimed the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award, despite Wayne Rooney being tipped as the hot favourite. It is the first time the 25-year-old has been named player of the year by his peers, although he was Young Player of the Year in 2001.
Gerrard, who a day earlier helped Liverpool win their FA Cup semi-final, said to the Daily Express:
“I am still in shock. To go through to another FA Cup final and win this special award in the same weekend is fantastic for me.”
Wayne Rooney, the 20-year-old Manchester United striker, at least won the PFA Young Player of the Year award for the second successive season.
Rooney had been a contender for the senior player of the year prize – along with Gerrard, Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and the Chelsea trio Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry, who won last year. Gerrard was third in last season’s vote but then went on to guide the Reds to Champions League victory against AC Milan in Istanbul. Players receive two votes and Gerrard revealed that he had voted for Henry and England team-mate Rooney.
Manchester United star Rooney said he was pleased to again pick up the young player prize.
“To win it twice on the run is a great honour and I am delighted with the award.” Rooney said.
He beat off competition from Charlton striker Darren Bent, team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon, Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas and West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand.
Rooney added: “I voted for Fabregas, but it was close between him and Darren Bent.“
It was no surprise that champions Chelsea had the most players named in the Premiership Team of the Year in the shape of John Terry, William Gallas, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard.
Newcastle’s Shay Given was picked in goal while Wigan full-back Pascal Chimbonda was also included after a solid season for Paul Jewell’s side.
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