LONDON, May 13 – Steven Gerrard's leadership of Liverpool's most sustained title challenge in years has won him the Football Writers' Association (FWA)'s player of the year award for the first time.The Reds captain saw off challenges from Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand to secure top spot in a poll of FWA members.
The 28-year-old has spent most of this season playing as a second striker, forging an exhilarating partnership with Fernando Torres. He has scored 23 goals in all competitions and become the club’s record scorer in European competition.
"We are delighted to honour Steven’s contribution this season with our prestigous award," said FWA chairman Steve Bates.
"Steven has had a fantastic season and has so often been the driving force behind Liverpool’s forceful challenge for the Premier League title.
"Steven is viewed by the football writers who voted as the heartbeat of Liverpool’s team and a player who gives everything for the cause."
Gerrard, who will receive his award at a dinner in London on May 29, succeeds Cristiano Ronaldo, who was honoured by the FWA in both 2007 and 2008.
The accolade means Gerrard joins a list of illustrious past winners that includes Sir Stanley Matthews, the first winner of the award in 1948, Sir Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore, George Best, Jurgen Klinsmann, Eric Cantona and Thierry Henry.
Liverpool’s talisman also joins an even more exclusive club of players to have won both the writers’ award and the Professional Footballers Assocation (PFA)’s player of the year award, which he collected in 2005-06.
This year’s player’s award was won by Giggs, who was recognised for his achievements over a long and exemplary career as much as his performances this season.