London, May 2 (IANS) English Premier League leaders Leicester City’s striker Jamie Vardy was on Monday named the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year 2016.
The England international collected 36 percent of members’ votes, making him a clear winner ahead of his team-mates Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante.
The 29-year-old has scored 24 goals for club and country so far this season, which has helped to put Leicester on the verge of winning the Premier League title.
Vardy becomes the first Leicester player to win the prestigious accolade, which has been running since 1948, and the first Englishman to be voted FWA Footballer of the Year since Scott Parker in 2011.
Former Leicester striker Gary Lineker, who was Footballer of the Year in both 1986 with Everton and 1992 at Tottenham, will pay tribute to Vardy at a gala dinner to be held at the Landmark London Hotel on May 12.
FWA chairman Andy Dunn, of the Sunday Mirror, said in a statement: “It is a testament to their all-round excellence that so many Leicester players polled votes from our members. The Jamie Vardy story, though, clearly captured the imagination of so many writers.”
“His record-breaking feat of scoring in 11 consecutive matches is the jewel in what will surely be Leicester City’s Premier League crown.”
“And the Footballer of the Year award is not just a reflection of his fantastic season, but recognition of a remarkable journey from non-League to the international stage.”
Vardy was honoured to become the latest recipient of the FWA Footballer of the Year award.
“It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious award and to have my name added to a list of previous winners that includes some unbelievable players. Thank you to the Football Writers’ Association and to everyone that voted,” Vardy said.
“Thank you also to my team-mates, who are the reason I’ve been able to achieve anything.”
“It’s been an amazing season for all of us at Leicester, based on the teamwork, not individuals, which you can see in the voting. Thanks also to the manager, all the staff and the fans for their support,” he added.
“We’re all totally focused on getting over the line in the final two weeks of the season and turning a great season into one we’ll never forget. Hopefully, I can contribute to that and, if selected, carry some good form into the Euros this summer.”
Other players to receive votes from FWA members were Tottenham striker Harry Kane, West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet, Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne as well as Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli.