LONDON: Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has been voted Footballer of the Year by the English Football Writers’ Association.
Salah narrowly beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in a ballot of over 400 FWA members, with the winning margin less than 20 votes. Tottenham striker Harry Kane was placed third.
Between them, Salah and De Bruyne polled more than 90pc of the votes for the oldest such award.
The Egyptian, 25, becomes the first African winner of the football’s oldest individual award, which has been running since 1948. Salah will be presented with his trophy at the 2018 FWA Footballer of the Year dinner, to be held at the Landmark Hotel in London on May 10.
Patrick Barclay, FWA Chairman, said: “It’s been the tightest call since 1968-69, when there was a dead heat between Tony Book of Manchester City and Derby’s Dave Mackay.
“Right up to the last week or so we thought it might happen again, so strong was the support for Kevin de Bruyne, but Mo Salah’s relentless match-winning form, exemplified by his two great goals against Roma, seems to have swung the vote by a very narrow margin.
“What a race it has been between two players who, in a relatively short time, have reached genuine world class. But Mo Salah is the worthiest of winners. He is also the first African to receive the award and we congratulate him on a magnificent season.”
The FWA has also introduced the inaugural FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year Award, which was won by Chelsea and England forward Fran Kirby, who will collect her accolade at the gala event.
Both Kirby and Salah were also voted PFA Players of the Year last month.
Other players to receive votes from FWA members were, in alphabetical order: Sergio Aguero (Man City), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Nick Pope (Burnley), David Silva (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Man City) and Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).
Previous winners: http://footballwriters.co.uk/previous-foty