Football: McGrath's joy: Aston Villa's veteran defender wins the acclaim of his fellow professionals

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The Independent Online
PAUL McGRATH, the Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland defender, was a popular winner last night of the Professional Footballers' Association 'Player of the Year' award.

The 33-year-old, who has fought hard to overcome serious knee problems, received his trophy from Bobby Charlton at London's Grosvenor Hotel. He saw off strong competition from Paul Ince, of Manchester United, and Blackburn's Alan Shearer, who finished third.

Ryan Giggs, of Manchester United, took the Young Player's award for the the second year running - the first time anyone has taken the trophy twice.

PFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1 Paul McGrath (Aston Villa); 2 Paul Ince (Manchester United); 3 Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers).

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR: 1 Ryan Giggs (Manchester United); 2 Nick Barmby (Tottenham); 3 Roy Keane (Nottingham Forest).

FA PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE YEAR: Schmeichel (Manchester United); Bardsley (Queen's Park Rangers), McGrath (Aston Villa), Pallister (Manchester United), Dorigo (Leeds), Ince (Manchester United), Speed (Leeds), Keane (Nottingham Forest), Shearer (Blackburn), Wright (Arsenal), Giggs (Manchester United).

FIRST DIVISION: Miklosko (West Ham); Kerslake (Swindon - now Leeds), Short (Derby County), Cooper (Millwall), Beresford (Newcastle), Clark (Newcastle), Hazard (Swindon), M Allen (West Ham), Aldridge (Tranmere), Whittingham (Portsmouth), Peacock (Newcastle).

SECOND DIVISION: Beresford (Burnley); Hiley (Exeter - now Birmingham), Overson (Stoke), Swan (Port Vale), Charlton (Huddersfield), Walker (Port Vale), I Taylor (Port Vale), Bradley (West Bromwich), Stein (Stoke), Walker (Bolton), B Taylor (West Bromwich).

THIRD DIVISION: Prudhoe (Darlington); McMillan, Stancliffe (both York), Elliott (Scunthorpe), Searle (Cardiff), Lowe, Payne (both Barnet), Owen (Wrexham), Bull (Barnet), Foreman (Scarborough), Griffiths (Shrewsbury).

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