• Winger wins main award and young player of year award
• Bale beats off challenge of Van Persie and Suárez
Tottenham’s Gareth Bale has been named the Professional Football Association’s player and young player of the year for 2012-13, becoming only the third person to clinch the double accolade in the same season.
Bale has enjoyed another fine campaign for Spurs, scoring 19 times in the Premier League and 14 goals in 17 matches since the turn of the year. The Welshman follows Andy Gray and Cristiano Ronaldo in winning both awards in the same year.
Bale secures the player of the year award for the second time, becoming only the fifth player to do so after Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Ronaldo, having been voted in by his fellow peers.
The 23-year-old, who also won in 2011, thanked the Tottenham manager, André Villas-Boas, and admitted he was “extremely proud”. “It’s a massive honour. To be voted by your peers is one of the biggest things in the game. It’s great to win it and I am delighted,” he said.
“When you look at the list, there are some massive names on it but I couldn’t have done it without the team. They have been fantastic this year and so has the manager. The other nominees have been unbelievable, they have been outstanding for their clubs and it’s a massive moment to win, especially as it’s both awards and it’s something that I’m extremely proud of.
The biggest thing is playing for your team and going well. If you do well, then these awards come along. I have been shooting a lot more and I have been coming inside a lot more too. I have a few less assists this year but I am in more scoring positions these days and that has obviously helped my scoring tally as we have seen this season.”
Bale, who has been linked with a move away from Tottenham this summer, was shortlisted for the award along with Robin van Persie, Luis Suárez, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Michael Carrick. Suárez came second and Van Persie third. Bale beat Hazard, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke to the young player of
the year award.
Bale also made the PFA team of the year, which included four players from Manchester United, the Premier League champions. His Tottenham team-mate Jan Vertonghen was named in defence alongside Rio Ferdinand, Leighton Baines and Pablo Zabaleta, with David de Gea as goalkeeper. Van Persie and Suárez were selected in attack, with Carrick, Hazard and Mata in midfield.
On his favourite moments this season, Bale said: “There are a few. The one against Norwich was one of my favourites, the West Ham one. Those two are my favourites from this season.”
The PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said Bale was a good role model for youngsters which could not be said for Suárez, who was last week banned for 10 games by the Football Association for biting an opponent.
“Everyone knows Suárez is a great footballer, I just wish at times he could fall in to line because footballers are role models and Gareth and Robin van Persie are really good examples for the younger generation,” said Taylor.
“Gareth has had a tremendous season, he has had the same impact on Welsh football as Ryan Giggs did. He is part of the Southampton success story.”Kim Little, the Arsenal Ladies and Scotland midfielder, won the inaugural Women’s Award. Next year will be the first that women will be allowed to join the organisation.
She said: “It is a great night for me. For various years I have watched this event on television so to come here and win the first award is fantastic.”
Eric Harrison, the former Manchester United youth team coach who was responsible for bringing through the club’s famous crop of players during the 1990s, received the PFA’s merit award.
Premier League Team of the Year: David De Gea (Manchester United); Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton); Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Gareth Bale (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea); Luis Suárez (Liverpool), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).
Championship Team of the Year: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester); Kieran Trippier (Burnley), Wes Morgan (Leicester), Mark Hudson (Cardiff), Wayne Bridge (Brighton); Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Thomas Ince (Blackpool), Peter Whittingham (Cardiff), Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace); Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace), Matej Vydra (Watford).
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