Robin Van Persie and Kyle Walker scoop PFA's prestigious Player of the Year Awards



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 



Van Persie (above top) has scored 38 goals for club and country this season while Walker (above below) has been in sparkling form for Spurs


Arsenal's Robin Van Persie and Tottenham's Kyle Walker have been named as the Professional Football Association's Player and Young Player of the Year respectively at the annual ceremony.

28-year old striker Van Persie has scored 34 goals in all competitions for the Gunners this season more than anyone else in the Premier League- his best scoring season in England. The Dutch international said that it is "special if other people are saying it but even more special if your opponents are saying it." He continued by saying that the award "in choosing me as the best player is a big honour".

Van Persie has been inspirational for Arsene Wenger's side this season whilst single-handedly helping his side through tough matches this season with his goalscoring feats although the forward was quick to acknowledge the importance and significant contribution of his team-mates. "I couldn't have achieved this without them- for example Theo Walcott has given me more than 12 assists and I really do appreciate that. Alex Song has chipped in with a few as well," he said.

The Arsenal captain, who joined in 2004, has enjoyed his most profitable campaign largely due to his switch to a centre-forward role as the leading striker. "To be fair, when I first went there I wasn't really as confident and I wasn't really sure I could do it," he added. "It took a bit of time but after a couple of months I slowly realised I could do a good job there." Van Persie claimed the award ahead of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, Tottenham's Scott Parker and Manchester City's Joe Hart, Sergio Aguero & David Silva. Previous winners of the prize include Rooney, Spurs winger Gareth Bale, ex-Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Welshman Ryan Giggs.

Defender Walker, who joined Spurs from Sheffield United in the summer of 2009, beat off the challenge of United forward Danny Welbeck and City forward Sergio Aguero to win the prize of young player of the year. It has been an excellent and consistent full first season in the Tottenham first team for the 21-year old whose highlights include the winning goal in the North London derby against Arsenal in October at White Hart Lane. He has started 33 of Spurs' 34 Premier League games at right-back. "It is always an honour to be selected by the people you play against and hopefully I can get a few more of these and some medals with Tottenham along the way. I was a bit surprised because defenders don't normally get these awards and get the limelight as much as the centre-forwards," he said. "It is a great honour to get the award and hopefully there is more to come."

His superb form earned him his first full international cap for England in November as he made his debut as a late substitute in the 1-0 win over Spain at Wembley. Three days later, he made his first senior start for his country as England beat Sweden by the same scoreline. Previous winners include Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, Manchester City's James Milner (during his Aston Villa days), Manchester United's Ashley Young (also during his Aston Villa career), Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas (during his time at Arsenal) and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (collected in 2006-07 whilst at Manchester United).

Preston North End defender Graham Alexander received the PFA Merit award at the ceremony in London in recognition of his services to the game, dating back to his debut as a Scunthorpe player in 1991. The 40-year-old went on to play for Luton, Preston and Burnley before returning to Deepdale in 2011. His stint at Turf Moor included a season in the Premier League where he scored eight goals. He has made 976 senior appearances, including 866 in the league. He spent time as caretaker manager of Preston along with David Unsworth in February after the sacking of Phil Brown. "To get recognition for what you have done in your career at any stage is great," he said. "I'm coming towards the end of my playing career and I'm privileged to be recognised by the people who I have played against for the last 20-odd years."

Here are the teams of the year as selected by the PFA:

Premier League- Joe Hart (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Leighton Baines (Everton), David Silva (Manchester City), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Gareth Bale (Tottenham), Robin Van Persie (Arsenal), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

Npower Championship- Kelvin Davis (Southampton), Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace), James Tomkins (West Ham), Curtis Davies (Birmingham City), Ian Harte (Reading), Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Mark Noble (West Ham), Matt Phillips (Blackpool), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Jay Rodriguez (Burnley).

Npower League One- Ben Hamer (Charlton), Jack Hunt (Huddersfield), Michael Morrison (Charlton), Harry Maguire (Sheffield United), Rhoys Wiggins (Charlton), Johnnie Jackson (Charlton), Stephen Gleeson (MK Dons), Darren Potter (MK Dons), Stephen Quinn (Sheffield United), Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield), Ched Evans (Sheffield United).

Npower League Two- Robert Olejnik (Torquay), Paul Caddis (Swindon Town), Kyle McFadzean (Crawley Town), Ian Sharps (Shrewsbury), Kevin Nicholson (Torquay), Matt Ritchie (Swindon Town), Marlon Pack (Cheltenham), Eunan O'Kane (Torquay), Lee Mansell (Torquay), Izale McLeod (Barnet), Tyrone Barnett (Crawley Town).

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