Tottenham's Gareth Bale was last night named as the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.
The 21-year-old has been in imperious form for Spurs in both the Premier League and Champions League this season, becoming one of the most talked about players in the world in the process. Bale beat six other players on the shortlist to the much-vaunted award and becomes the fourth Welshman to be honoured, following in the footsteps of Ian Rush, Mark Hughes and Ryan Giggs.
"I am more than delighted really," he said. "It is a massive award and it is a great honour to receive, especially from other fellow professionals. It is a honour really when you look at the names that have won it before and it just makes you go 'wow' really. There haven't been too many Welshman to have won the trophy but it is great and it is great for me personally.
"And it is not just for me, it is for all my team-mates that have helped me through the season and it is kind of for everyone really."
Bale endured a tumultuous beginning to life at White Hart Lane following his move from Southampton in 2007, with his first year punctuated by injuries and an inability to secure a first-team starting spot. However, the winger's turnaround in fortunes has been nothing short of spectacular and he insists he never doubted his ability to reach the top. "I think it is due to a bit of everything really," he added. "At the beginning I wasn't really playing much and I always believed in myself that if I did get a run in the team – which I eventually did – that I would be able to prove what I can do.
"That did happen and I kind of never really looked back from there. Playing in a good team with good players definitely helped me a lot and all the boys have been fantastic, the manager has been fantastic, giving me my chance, and it is something I want to improve on."
Bale was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year, but that award went to Jack Wilshere of Arsenal. The 19-year-old has attracted much praise for his performances, during a campaign which has seen him establish himself as a key man in England's senior team. "It is my first full season and it is a massive award, especially from my fellow players," he said. "It is amazing. I am very proud to be the fifth recipient from Arsenal, it is good to keep this history going."
For the Premier League Team of the Year, click here.Reuse content