Parker: Survival will be better prize
Scott Parker has spoken of his delight at winning the Football Writers Association's Footballer of the Year award but insists it will mean nothing if West Ham drop into the Championship.
Parker, 30, has impressed this season despite featuring in a side teetering dangerously close to the Premier League precipice.
As well as the FWA prize, Parker's club form saw him shortlisted for the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award and establish himself in the England national team.
Parker - who started his career at Charlton before spells with Chelsea and Newcastle ahead of joining the Hammers in 2007 - will receive the award at a gala dinner at the Lancaster London Hotel on May 12. Parker said he is enjoying the best season of his career and admitted it is an honour to join the legendary Bobby Moore as West Ham's only FWA winners.
"I'm absolutely delighted,'' he said. "It is fantastic to get the award. When I got the phone call to say I'd won it I was speechless really. I'm just really, really pleased. You're always surprised when you get awards - there's always an element of surprise. I feel like I have been playing some good stuff so I'm just glad that I've been picked and people appreciate what I've been doing.
"Normally it's at the other end of the league where the players are winning it,'' he added. "There's probably a lot of other candidates - Charlie Adam, Gareth Bale - I'm really really buzzing that people are appreciating what I'm doing or what I have done, what I'm trying to do.''
While looking forward to picking up the prestigious accolade for his personal performances, Parker maintained that he is focused on securing Premier League survival for West Ham.
"I stated recently the main focus this year is staying in the Premier League with West Ham and if we don't do it the personal accolades will be very, very disappointing,'' he said. "Our main aim is to stay in the Premier League. We've got five big, big games left and hopefully we can get the points we need and stay in the league.
"I cannot explain the way it's gone for me on a personal level. Accolades and awards are massive...I'm absolutely over the moon. I'm playing well, obviously I wish we could be in a better position in the league but on a personal level things are going good for me. I need to keep continuing that, working hard, and staying on the right track.
"[As for the team's under-performance] it is not just this season,'' he added. "Last season as well we had our troubles and it's gone into this season. We have got a very good squad and some very good players but for one reason or another we haven't picked up the points we need. If I could put my finger on it I would. We need to try to pick up some results. But we still have a chance.''