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By ESPN Staff
Apr 26, 2004

PFA award caps perfect day for Henry

Thierry Henry became the first man to retain the PFA Player of the Year Award when he was confirmed as the winner at a London ceremony on Sunday.

The announcement capped a perfect day for the France striker, whose Arsenal side secured the Premiership title earlier with a 2-2 draw at the home of fierce local rivals Tottenham.

Last year's winner, who has scored 29 goals in 33 league games this season, won the majority of his fellow professionals' votes.

'I am quite lucky to play in a special team. The strikers grab the headlines but I have special players around me,' said Henry.

'We play as a team and we are willing to fight for each other, and you need that ability.

'It's like we are a family, willing to do things together and fight for it.'

Henry became only the third player to win two senior PFA accolades - after Mark Hughes and Alan Shearer.

Last year he collected the award after a 2-2 draw at Bolton had effectively ended Arsenal's championship hopes.

'This is different to last season because I came here after we drew at Bolton, but now I can enjoy it better because we have won the league,' he said.

At one point in the season, Arsenal were on course to add the FA Cup and Champions League trophy to the title, but Henry is happy enough with the one trophy.

'Some people will say that it's disappointing to have won only the league this season, but I can tell you I am more than happy.'

The other nominees were his Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard of Liverpool, Bolton's Jay-Jay Okocha and former winner Alan Shearer.

The Young Player's Award surprisingly went to Chelsea's Scott Parker ahead of his team-mate John Terry.

Parker's emergence as a player with international potential was confirmed in January when he joined Chelsea in a £10million move from Charlton.

Parker said: 'This is very pleasing for me and it rounds off a brilliant season, although there are a couple of things that could still go my way in the summer, such as the Champions League and the European Championship.

'It has been a tough year for me but a brilliant year. It was always going to be tough leaving Charlton because I had not known anything else since the age of nine so it was always going to take a bit of time to settle in at Chelsea but I am happy with the way things are going.'

Terry could console himself with a place in the FA Barclaycard Premiership team, more than half of which was provided by the champions.

Henry led the list of Gunners, which also included Vieira, Robert Pires and three of the back four - Sol Campbell, Lauren and Ashley Cole.

If England needed any encouragement ahead of this summer's European Championships, then they could take it from the fact that five of the 11 players in the PFA team should be on duty in Portugal.

Apart from the two Arsenal defenders, the representative team included Chelsea pair Terry and Lampard and Liverpool's Gerrard.

The other two players in the team both came from deposed champions Manchester United, with Tim Howard earning the goalkeeper's place and Ruud van Nistelrooy winning the other striker's slot.

PFA AWARDS - DIVISIONAL WINNERS 2004

FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP

Tim Howard (Manchester United), Lauren (Arsenal), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), John Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole(Arsenal), Steven Gerrard(Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Robert Pires (Arsenal), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal), Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)

NATIONWIDE FIRST DIVISION

Robert Green (Norwich), Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United), Danny Gabbidon (Cardiff), Malky Mackay (Norwich), Julio Arca (Sunderland), Tim Cahill (Millwall), Michael Carrick (West Ham United), Jason Koumas (West Brom), Andrew Reid (Nottingham Forest), Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff), Andrew Johnson (Crystal Palace)

NATIONWIDE SECOND DIVISION

Steven Phillips (Bristol City), Louis Carey (Bristol City), Graham Coughlan (Plymouth), Danny Cullip (Brighton), Gino Padula (QPR), Carlos Edwards (Wrexham), David Friio (Plymouth), Brian Tinnion (Bristol City), Richard Wellens (Blackpool), Leon Knight (Brighton), Scott Taylor (Blackpool)

NATIONWIDE THIRD DIVISION

Chris Weale (Yeovil), Nathan Stanton (Scunthorpe), Andrew Crosby (Oxford), Efe Sodje (Huddersfield), Andrew Dawson (Hull), Peter Beagrie (Scunthorpe), Liam Lawrence (Mansfield), Michael McIndoe (Doncaster), Alex Russell (Torquay), David Graham (Torquay), Lee Trundle (Swansea)