Premier League – Giggs named PFA Player of the Year

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Manchester United‘s veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs was voted Player of the Year for the first time by the Professional Footballers’ Association.

FOOTBALL 2008-09 Premier League Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs receives PFA Player of the Year award - 0

Aston Villa‘s Ashley Young was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

Despite making only 12 Premier League starts and scoring a single goal, the evergreen Welshman finally took the prize after 18 years as a professional with United and just short of 800 appearances.

He edged out United team mates Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Edwin van der Sar and Rio Ferdinand as well as Liverpool‘s Steven Gerrard.

Giggs was the first Welshman to win the award since former United striker Mark Hughes in 1991.

The 35-year-old’s only Premier League goal of the season came against West Ham United in February, a classy effort after swerving past three defenders.

“It’s right up there with personal accolades – it’s the best to have as it’s voted by your fellow players,” Giggs said at the award ceremony in London.

“I’ve been fortunate to win a lot of trophies, I won the young player award twice, but this is the big one.”

“It’s an exciting season. I think it is going to go right to the wire, there’s big game after big game now. That is what you want and need at a club like Manchester United.”

United manager Alex Ferguson has continued to call on the veteran during big games, and Giggs paid tribute to the man who has been his boss for his entire professional career.

“The manager has been massive in my career from when I first met him when I was 13,” Giggs said. “That’s over 20 years and he knows me better than anyone and our relationship has been brilliant and just gets better.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have such a great career in so many great teams, it’s not even worth thinking about what it would have been like without the manager.”

“As long as I’m getting picked, enjoying it and injury-free, I’ll carry on as long as I can. At 35 you can’t look too far into the distance, you just can’t.”

Giggs, who stopped Ronaldo winning the award for the third consecutive season, is on course for an 11th Premier League winners’ medal with United three points clear at the top with a game in hand of their rivals.

Premier League team of the year: Edwin Van der Sar (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Fernando Torres (Liverpool)

Championship team: Keiren Westwood (Coventry), Kyle Naughton (Sheff Utd), Roger Johnson (Cardiff), Richard Stearman (Wolves), Daniel Fox (Coventry), Michael Kightly (Wolves), Stephen Hunt (Reading), Joe Ledley (Cardiff), Jordi Gomez (Swansea, on loan from RCD Espanyol), Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves), Jason Scotland (Swansea).

League One team: Joe Murphy (Scunthorpe), Neal Eardley (Oldham), Jack Hobbs (Leicester), Sean O’Hanlon, Dean Lewington (both MK Dons), Fabian Delph (Leeds), Matt Oakley (Leicester), Chris Taylor (Oldham), George Boyd (Peterborough), Rickie Lambert (Bristol Rovers), Matt Fryatt (Leicester).

League Two team: Scott Shearer (Wycombe), Neil Austin (Darlington), Simon King (Gillingham), David McCracken (Wycombe), Tom Kennedy (Rochdale), Omar Daley (Bradford), Dany N’Guessan (Lincoln), Ben Davies (Shrewsbury), Tommy Doherty (Wycombe), Andy Bishop (Bury), Grant Holt (Shrewsbury).

Reuters

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