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Apr, 25, 2010

Rooney scoops PFA Player of the Year Award

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year, though he missed out an awards double as James Milner beat him to the PFA Young Player of the Year prize.

Rooney takes player prize

Rooney, who has been in sensational form this season, saw off stiff competition in the form of Cesc Fabregas, Carlos Tevez and Didier Drogba to collect the honour, and United have now provided the winner in each of the past four years.

"It's a great feeling to win the player of the year award because it's voted for by the players,'' Rooney said. "It's something I'm really proud of and it's a great honour.

"I remember coming here in 2005 and 2006 to win the young player of the year. I saw the players winning the main one and it's something I've aimed for since.''

Rooney, who is the Premier League's top scorer with 26 goals to his name, missed United's 3-1 victory over Tottenham on Saturday with a groin injury sustained in training and there are doubts about whether he will play for his club again this season.

But the England striker insists he could be back for United's final game of the season and has promised that he will be fit to spearhead his country's World Cup campaign.

"The groin will be fine for the World Cup, there are no worries about that,'' he said. "I'm hoping to play for United in the last game of the season.''

Rooney is the first Englishman to win the award since Steven Gerrard in 2006 and he paid tribute to the influence United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has had on his career.

"Sir Alex is a great manager who has really brought me on as a player since I joined United,'' Rooney said. "His hunger passes through to the players. It's great to see that he's pushing 70 and hasn't changed a bit. I'm sure he'll be here for a long time yet.''

Rooney was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year, but that award went to James Milner of Aston Villa. Milner appears to have played himself into Fabio Capello's World Cup squad with a string of stellar performances, with the 24-year-old midfielder crediting a change in position for his success this season.

"I've been moved into the middle and that suits me as it helps me influence the game a bit more,'' Milner said. "Maybe sometimes wide right you want to influence the game but you just can't get yourself into it.''

Leeds legend and former South Africa captain Lucas Radebe, 41, won the PFA Merit award for his wide-ranging charity and community work.

"I'm very proud to get such a great award. Sport can change the world - football has played such a big part in lifting my community,'' Radebe said.

The PFA divisional team of the year contains four United players, spearheaded by Rooney. Arsenal, whose title challenge fell away in the final rounds, supply Fabregas and Thomas Vermaelen and there are also two from Chelsea in Drogba and Branislav Ivanovic.

The inclusion of Milner and Richard Dunne means Aston Villa are represented twice as well. Premier League team of the year: Hart, Ivanovic, Vermaelen, Dunne, Evra, Fabregas, Milner, Fletcher, Valencia, Rooney, Drogba.

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