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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 24, 2006

Gerrard and Rooney land PFA player awards

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admitted he felt a great sense of humility after being named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year at a gala dinner in London.

The 25-year-old England midfielder topped the poll as voted for by his colleagues ahead of the other five leading candidates - Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Chelsea trio Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry, last year's winner.

Rooney, still only 20, picked up the young player trophy for the second time.

Gerrard had been third in last season's vote, and went on to guide the Reds to a famous Champions League final victory on penalties over AC Milan in Istanbul.

While Liverpool may not have hit the same heights in Europe during the current campaign, Rafael Benitez's men have climbed up the Premiership table to third place and yesterday knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup to reach the final in Cardiff next month.

Gerrard, though, felt any of tonight's nominees would have been a worthy winner.

He declared: 'I am still in shock to be honest. If you look at the shortlist, there are five other guys who have so much talent. They are all special players.

'And then there are also the guys who have not made the shortlist - there are so many players who could have won this award.'

Henry collected the accolade in both 2003 and 2004, while other previous winners also include former England captain Gary Lineker, current Blackburn boss Mark Hughes and recently retired Newcastle striker Alan Shearer.

Gerrard - who scooped the 2001 PFA young player award - reflected: 'I looked at the list of past winners and there are some fantastic names on there - some legends, so I am really proud to have joined them, it is really special.'

The Liverpool skipper added: 'It has been one of the best weekends of my life. To go through to another FA Cup final and win this special award is fantastic for me.'

Gerrard revealed he had voted for Henry, and also Rooney as young player.

The England midfielder declared: 'He is a fantastic talent - and I am sure it will not be too long before Wayne is sitting exactly where I am now.'

Rooney's goals have helped the Red Devils to second place in the Premiership, and will be aiming to delay Chelsea's title party when the two sides meet at Stamford Bridge next week.

To receive recognition again from his fellow professionals meant a lot to the Manchester United and England forward.

Rooney said: 'To win it twice on the run is a great honour and I am delighted with the award. As a team, we [United] have done a bit better than last year, so it is an improvement.

'Hopefully we can continue that and I will be sitting here again next season.'

The other names short-listed for the young player award were Charlton striker Darren Bent, Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon, Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas and West Ham defender Anton Ferdinand.

Rooney revealed he had nominated Fabregas and Henry in their respective categories.

'I voted for Fabregas, but it was close between him and Darren Bent, who has been brilliant with all the goals he has scored for Charlton.

'But Fabregas has done really well for Arsenal - especially in the Champions League.'

Rooney added: 'I also voted for Thierry Henry, for the goals he has scored and the overall performance - the main thing is that he was doing it all in the Champions League as well.'

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