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By ESPN Staff

Henry lands FWA award for a record third time

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Arsenal striker and captain Thierry Henry was voted Footballer of the Year for the third time in four years by the Football Writers' Association (FWA) on Thursday.

The Frenchman, top scorer in the Premier League this season with 23 goals and instrumental in helping Arsenal reach the Champions League final, was a clear winner ahead of runner-up John Terry of Chelsea and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, the Professional Footballer's Association (PFA) Player of the Year, finished fourth ahead of Joe Cole and last year's winner Frank Lampard.

Henry also collected the award in 2003 and 2004, the first back-to-back winner, and the first overseas player to win the award twice.

Paul Hetherington, chairman of the FWA, said: 'Henry is a deserving winner in a season when there have been several outstanding candidates, such as Terry, Rooney and Gerrard.

'Henry's achievement ranks him up there as the greatest player in the 59-year history of the award.'

The 28-year-old became top-scorer in Arsenal's history when he netted twice against Sparta Prague in October, taking his tally to 186, one more than Ian Wright.

He has also been influential in Arsenal's run to the final of the Champions League where they will play Barcelona.

However, his future with Arsenal has been the subject of much speculation. Henry, who has a contract with the Premier League club until the end of next season, has been repeatedly linked with a move to Spanish football, either with Barcelona or Real Madrid.

The striker, who joined from Juventus in 1999, has been offered a five-year deal which club chairman Peter Hill-Wood described in January as 'fantastic'.