Henderson voted player of year in England by soccer writers

Sports

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson holds the English Premier League trophy aloft after it was presented following the Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Paul Ellis, Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Jordan Henderson was voted player of the year by soccer writers on Friday after captaining Liverpool to its first English league title in 30 years and also playing a leading role in raising money for Britain’s health service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Henderson beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to the award by the Football Writers’ Association.

“As grateful as I am, I don’t feel like I can accept this on my own,” said the central midfielder, who lifted the Premier League trophy on Wednesday. “I don’t feel like anything I’ve achieved this season or in fact during my whole career has been done on my own.

“I owe a lot to so many different people but none more so than my current teammates, who have just been incredible and deserve this every bit as much as I do.”

Winning the league completed a stunning 13 months for Liverpool, which also won the Champions League and the Club World Cup in that period. Henderson has been an inspirational leader in that time, with Liverpool’s performances often dipping in his rare absences.

The England midfielder also played an important role behind the scenes during the suspension of the league during the pandemic, leading an initiative that saw players team up with a charity to raise money for the National Health Service.

“Leadership is intangible and often unquantifiable unless it is inarguable,” FWA chair Carrie Brown said. “Jordan Henderson is both the ultimate professional and now a bona fide Liverpool legend.

“Jordan is a player his teammates look to on the pitch and who his rivals look up to off it. The voting criteria for the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year is one who leads by precept and example and in this country’s darkest moment, Jordan, unprompted, personally rallied club captains to establish #PlayersTogether.”

The FWA’s Footballer of the Year accolade is the oldest individual soccer award in the world. It was first awarded in 1948.

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