LONDON (AP) — Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was voted as men’s player of the year by his fellow professionals in England for the second time, while Chelsea striker Sam Kerr won the women’s award on Thursday.
Salah became only the seventh man to win the Professional Footballers’ Association award more than once after a season in which he scored 23 goals in the Premier League — tied for first with Tottenham’s Son Heung-min — and had a league-leading 14 assists.
"I have my room with trophies in a cabinet,” Salah said, “and I made sure that I had another space for one more. I always keep space and just try to imagine that the trophies are going to come.”
“When you get older,” he added, “you feel like you’re more stable and you know exactly what you want from football so I’m just trying to really chill and help the team. That’s why I think I also (was the leading) playmaker because it’s like you’re more aware of the game, so you just try to make the people next to you better and try to make yourself better as well.”
Kevin De Bruyne, the star player for Premier League champion Manchester City, was looking to win the award for the third straight year. De Bruyne was also on the six-man shortlist, along with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Liverpool pair Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mané.
Despite having his best scoring season in the league, Son didn’t make the PFA’s team of the year, which contained six players from Liverpool — the runnerup in the league to City — and three City players along with Ronaldo and Antonio Rüdiger, the defender who played for Chelsea last season and has since moved to Real Madrid.
Kerr was the top scorer in the Women’s Super League with 20 goals to help Chelsea to the title, with the team also winning the FA Cup.
She is the first Australian player, male or female, to win the award. Harry Kewell won the Young Player of the Year honor in 2000.
“It’s a massive honor, I think, whenever you’re voted by your peers,” Kerr said. “I think that’s the highest honour as a player so it’s an amazing feeling.”
Manchester City forward Phil Foden won the Young Player of the Year award for the second straight year. City’s Lauren Hemp got the women’s award and is its first four-time winner.
Men’s team of the year: Alisson (Liverpool), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea), João Cancelo (Manchester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Thiago Alcântara (Liverpool), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Sadio Mané (Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Women’s team of the year: Ann-Katrin Berger (Chelsea), Ona Batlle (Manchester United), Leah Williamson (Arsenal), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Kim Little (Arsenal), Caroline Weir (Manchester City), Guro Reiten (Chelsea Women), Lauren Hemp (Manchester City), Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal).
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The Associated Press