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PFA Awards: Kevin De Bruyne wins; Marcus Rashford receives PFA Merit award

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Manchester City’s midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been named the 2020 Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year with Chelsea’s Bethany England taking the women’s award.

The midfielder beat a host of Liverpool’s title-winning players including Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, and Trent Alexander-Arnold to become Manchester City’s first recipient of the award.

Alexander-Arnold did however pick up the award for the PFA Young Player of the Year, beating England youngsters Tammy Abraham, Mason Greenwood, Mason Mount, Marcus Rashford, and Bukayo Saka to the prize.

De Bruyne, who registered 13 goals and a record-equalling 20 assists, had a fantastic season despite City trailed Liverpool by an eventual 18 points in the 2019/20 Premier League campaign. The player was voted the campaign’s top performer by his peers and was quick to thank his manager for handing him full creative licence.

Most of the time he just lets me be me,” the 29-year-old says of Guardiola

We speak often about the team but in a lot of senses he knows when he gives the orders of what the team has to do that I will listen.

But then on the other side he gives me a lot of freedom; I don’t know why, that’s just the way it goes between us.

He knows in one way I will always put the team first and then obviously if I can help myself I’m going to do that.

But he knows that I want the team to win, and if the team wins I will gain from it. So I think in that sense he feels fine and he trusts me completely.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold was a pivot as Liverpool kept 12 clean sheets in their league triumph, and he also had 4 goals and 13 assists under his belt.

The 21-year-old has also thrown caution to the wind ahead of the new season which starts on September 12 saying that Klopp’s side were nowhere near satisfied with their successes to date.

That first taste of success and being able to lift trophies, you never get over that, and the disappointments that come along the way too feed that hunger as well,” says Alexander-Arnold.

So it’s probably a perfect blend of wanting to feel the success and not wanting to feel that disappointment that we’ve felt in the past.

And I think as a team and individually the mentality is to keep going and to keep striving forward, because we’re not done yet.”

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PFA Awards 2020

Chelsea Bethany England beat her title-winning team-mates Sophie Ingle, Guro Reiten and Ji So-Yun and also WSL top scorer Vivianne Miedema to the Women’s award.

Manchester City’s Lauren Hemp collected the women’s young player prize.

PFA Merit Award is given to Marcus Rashford

England International, Marcus Rashford, after receiving the Professional Footballers’ Association merit award for combating his role during the coronavirus pandemic has promised to find “long-term answers” to child food poverty in the UK.

PFA Awards 2020

Rashford managed to convince the UK government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy during the lockdown, ensuring children in need would receive meals across the summer.

The Manchester United forward has since formed a child food poverty task force, linking up with some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets and food brands.

The 22-year-old, on receiving the PFA’s special award handed out for services to football, insisted he is only just getting started on his off-field quest.

What we’ve done so far, it’s only a short-term answer,” Rashford says. “Me and my team behind me are just trying to find plans on how we can help these children for the rest of their childhood really; to find long-term answers to the problem.

At the moment we don’t have the answers but we’ll do our best to try to find them, and to progress the situation that they are in at the moment the best we can.

Obviously I was injured during lockdown, and at the beginning I was working towards getting back with the team, but then there were conversations saying there might not be games until September, and when I was sat at home I just needed something to work towards and a goal to achieve.

And that was just something I spoke about with my brothers over the phone and rest of my family, and we just tried to find the best way to help people.

It’s been a long journey, but I think the first phase was probably the hardest bit, which was learning and self-teaching who were the right people to get in contact with to help these children especially.

“We had the ideas but we didn’t know where to pitch them, or who to pitch them to, so that was probably the most difficult phase of everything really. That was right at the beginning of lockdown.

“This is obviously a huge honour, and for me I just hope it encourages and promotes other players to do things to help as much as they can. I’m very happy, and I’ll definitely continue to do my best to help people.”

Rashford has improved immensely under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he hit 22 goals in all competitions for a Manchester United side that finished third in the Premier League last season.

PFA Team of The Year

Premier League team of the year: Nick Pope (Burnley), Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk (both Liverpool), Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool), David Silva (Manchester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Kevin
De Bruyne (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Sadio Mane (Liverpool).

Women’s Super League team of the year: Ann-Katrin Berger, Maren Mjelde (both Chelsea), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Millie Bright, Magdalena Eriksson (both Chelsea), Caroline Weir (Man City), Kim Little (Arsenal), Ji So-yun, Beth England (both Chelsea), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Chloe Kelly (Man City).

Championship team of the year: Brice Samba (Nottingham Forest), Luke Ayling, Ben White, Liam Cooper (all Leeds), Joe Bryan (Fulham), Eberechi Eze (QPR), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Romaine Sawyers (West Brom), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham), Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma (both Brentford).

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