LONDON: Ruben Dias has been voted Footballer of the Year 2021 by the Football Writers’ Association, the first defender to win the award since Steve Nicol in 1989.
The Manchester City centre-back was a comfortable winner ahead of Tottenham’s Harry Kane and City team-mate, Kevin De Bruyne. Overall nine City players received votes which accounted for over 50 per cent of the total votes cast.
City will be formally crowned as Premier League, thanks in no small part to Dias’s brilliance, after Sunday’s final match of the campaign at home to Everton.
FWA chair Carrie Brown said: “Ruben Dias turned heads soon after his arrival in Manchester, a 23- year-old belying his age with fortitude, steel, a relentless drive for perfetcion and an almost superhuman ability to read and anticipate phases of play.
“This, while commendable, would not alone qualify a player to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award.
“One of our founding members, Charles Buchan, prescribed the award to recognise and celebrate a player who ‘by precept and example’ is considered to be the footballer of the year.
“Pep Guardiola improves players, shapes them but at no point, has a new signing arrived into one of Pep’s already trophy-laden teams and exerted such influence.
“Dias has demanded the highest standards which have resulted in the swiftest of upturns in fortune not solely for Dias himself, but team-mates to his left, right, front and centre.
“Ruben Dias is our FWA Footballer of the Year for his leadership on and off the pitch as much as for the infecyious joy he derives from extending the art of defending to perfection.”
** FWA interview with Ruben Dias: https://youtu.be/tnOhDZcQIus / Twitter: #FOTY21.