[QODLink]
Football

Bale wins top English football awards

Spurs midfielder Gareth Bale wins PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, calling awards 'massive honour'.

Last Modified: 29 Apr 2013 10:49
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The 23-year-old becomes only the third player to win both awards in the same season and the fifth player to claim the main prize twice [AFP]

Still to win any trophies with Tottenham, Gareth Bale collected the top two awards in English football on Sunday to cement his status as one of the sport's most talented players.

The Wales forward was voted player of the year and the young player of the year by his fellow professionals in English football.

"It's a massive honour,'' said Bale, who was also voted player of the year in 2011.

"To be voted by your peers is one of the biggest things in the game. It's great to win it and I am delighted.''

Hot competition

The 23-year-old Bale beat off competition from Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Michael Carrick to win the main Professional Footballers' Association award.

Only two other players have done the PFA double: former Aston Villa striker Andy Gray in 1977 and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007 when he was with Manchester United.

Bale's ability to bamboozle defences and score from set-pieces has led to inevitable comparisons with Ronaldo, who is now starring for Real Madrid.

"Both are extremely technical, powerful and pacey,'' Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said.

"They grew up as strikers but became wingers. Gareth is now playing a more advanced role. Ronaldo is also able to play that role up front.''

Bale's scintillating displays have produced 24 goals and been crucial to Tottenham sitting fifth in the English Premier League to remain in the hunt for the four Champions League places in the closing weeks of the season.

Bale's career has witnessed a remarkable turnaround since he joined Tottenham at 17 in 2007 for then $8 million and endured a frustrating start.

A series of injuries stymied his progress and he played 24 league games across two years before finally featuring on a winning side.

Harry Redknapp, who was then in charge of Tottenham, pushed Bale forward onto the left wing, allowing him to attack without having to think so much about the defensive aspect of his game.

Bale has kept his searing pace despite developing a more robust physique that allows him to shrug off opponents, while often now playing in a more central attacking position.

"I have been shooting a lot more and I have been coming inside a lot more, too,'' he said at the awards' ceremony in London.

"I have a few less assists this year, but I am in more scoring positions these days and that has obviously helped my scoring tally.''

Team of the year

Bale was also selected in the Premier League team of the year along with Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, who is currently serving a 10-game ban for biting an opponent. The voting took place before Suarez sank his teeth into Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic last Sunday, and his name was booed when it was read out at the ceremony.

In the team of the year, Manchester United's David De Gea was picked as goalkeeper, while the defenders are Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United) and Leighton Baines (Everton).

Chelsea duo Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, Manchester United's Michael Carrick are in midfield, while Manchester United striker Robin van Persie also features with Bale and Suarez.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor wishes Suarez followed the lead of Bale and Van Persie in setting a better example to youngsters.

"Everyone knows Suarez is a great footballer. I just wish at times he could fall into line because footballers are role models and Gareth and Robin van Persie are really good examples for the younger generation,'' Taylor said.

640

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
join our mailing list