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Top 10: Young Players of Year

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A look at ten winners of the young player prize

Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Stephen Ireland, Jonny Evans, Rafael Da Silva and Aaron Lennon are all aiming to follow in the footsteps of Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas by being named the PFA Young Player of the Year for 2009.

With the ceremony fast approaching, skysports.com takes a look at 10 previous winners of the award and what they went on to achieve.

1975 - Mervyn Day, West Ham United

Mervyn Day became the first, and so far only, goalkeeper to be given the award after a fantastic 1974-75 season. Aged 20, he became the youngest ever goalkeeper to appear in an FA Cup final, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Fulham.

Day was tipped to be the next England goalkeeper but injuries restricted his club playing time and his international aspirations suffered as he was never capped by his country.

1977 - Andy Gray

The now Sky Sports pundit also used to be a dab-hand in front of goal.

Leaving Dundee United to move to south to Aston Villa, Gray made 113 appearances for the Villains, scoring 54 goals.

But it was 25 of these goals that won Gray the award in his debut English season.

Not content with the prize, Gray went on to win both the PFA Young Player of the Year and PFA Players' Player of the Year awards the following year - a feat that was unmatched until a certain Portuguese winger managed it in 2007.

1979 - Cyrille Regis

Thirteen goals in 39 league matches was enough for Regis to be given the award whilst playing for West Brom. The powerful forward was born in French Guiana and moved to England aged one.

Big Cyrille was offered a trial by Chelsea before he made it big, but was unable to play due to a hamstring injury.

Regis is still regarded as one of Albion's greatest-ever players - going on to score 82 goals in 237 appearances for the Baggies and earning three caps for England.

1980 - Glenn Hoddle

A breakthrough talent, English football had never seen anything like Glenn Hoddle when the youngster started lighting up matches. Going against the 'British way' of playing, his close control and balance made him virtually impossible to dispossess and his range of passing and vision was excellent.

Hoddle was 22 when he won the award after scoring 19 goals in 41 league games, with many coming from dead-ball situations. Hoddle went on to play 53 times for England, scoring eight times, and later went on to manage his country.

1984 - Paul Walsh

Injury problems prevented Walsh from becoming the great he could have been. The potential was there for all to see when he won this award in 1984. Walsh earned two England caps that year, but failed to score in either match.

His cheeky skills and poaching ability made him the man Luton relied on to save them from relegation, whilst his pace also got him into many good positions.

A £750,000 move to Liverpool followed but Walsh never fully went on to maximise his potential.

1988 - Paul Gascoigne

Paul Gascoigne was viewed as the 'next Glenn Hoddle' when he started out at Newcastle. An extremely skillful player, Gascoigne was also an all-action midfielder - getting stuck into tackles when needed.

A great 1987-88 season led to 'Gazza' winning the PFA Young Player of the Year. Offers from Manchester United and Tottenham followed before Gascoigne signed for Spurs for a British record £2.3million.

His personal problems have been well documented but he went on to win 57 England caps, scoring 10 goals and famously crying in 1990 after picking up a yellow card that would have put him out of the World Cup final had England made it.

1990 - Matt Le Tissier

'Le God' as he is known in Southampton is arguably the club's greatest ever player. Scoring 162 goals in 443 appearances, Le Tissier is loved by all Saints fans for his commitment to the club. Le Tissier revealed he resisted the overtures of AC Milan and Chelsea during his time at The Dell.

He won the award in 1990 after scoring 19 goals in 35 games, helping The Saints to a respectable 7th place finish.

His dead-ball prowess was one of his many skills and he often scored free-kicks, only missed one penalty in 17 years and even scored a few from corners.

1996 - Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler became only the second player ever to win the PFA Young Player of the Year Award in consecutive seasons in 1996. (Ryan Giggs was the other in 1992 and 93.) Following his success the season before, Fowler moved on to an even bigger platform. Playing 38 games for Liverpool in the league, Fowler finished with a total of 28 goals and finished the season with 53 appearances and 36 goals. This was the same season in which Fowler scored two in a remarkable 4-3 victory over a Newcastle side chasing the title. Fowler scored seven goals in 26 England appearances and found the net 120 times in 236 games for Liverpool.

1998 - Michael Owen

Owen burst onto the scene with THAT goal against Argentina, putting him in the England record books in three different categories. But he also scored 18 league goals for Liverpool in 36 games in the 97-98 season to prove he was not a one-goal wonder.

The accolades started flying in and Owen was also given the Sports Personality of the Year award.

Owen went on to win 88 England caps, and counting, scoring 40 goals, but not many will beat the one that put him on the map.

2007 - Cristiano Ronaldo

No prizes for guessing that Ronaldo would win this award, but it was the fact he coupled it with the senior award that makes him worthy of this list.

Ronaldo won both the PFA Young Player of the Year and PFA Players' Player of the Year awards in 2007 to match Andy Gray.

Always one to strive to be better then everyone else, Ronaldo made it a hat-trick with the PFA Fans' Player of the Year.

Ronaldo scored 23 goals in all competitions but it was his tricks, dribbling ability, shooting prowess and series of assists that also made him a worthy recipient of the prize.

Comments (1)

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Mark Mc quaid says...

how did Ashley Young win? does this mean he is the best young english player in the premiership? if so its not looking to good for the future for english football! i think Ireland or Evens were well better consistently all season!!!

Posted 23:14 28th April 2009

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