Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

PFA double of player and young player of the year for Tottenham's Gareth Bale as Luis Suarez makes team of the year

Winner of the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, Gareth Bale during the 2013 PFA Player of the Year Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London
Winner of the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, Gareth Bale during the 2013 PFA Player of the Year Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London

Gareth Bale on Sunday night became only the third player in history to win the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year and young player of the year awards in the same season.

Bale follows Andy Gray, in 1977, and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007 in winning both awards in the same season. The Tottenham Hotspur man had previously been voted PFA player of the year in 2011. He is the fifth person to win the award twice, after Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Ronaldo.

Bale said: "It was players like Ryan Giggs and Thierry Henry, I have been watching them since I grew up, watching these games, watching these awards, so to be here now is surreal but also special. There are a few [goals that stand out]. The one against Norwich was one of my favourites, the West Ham one... Those two are my favourites from this season."

Asked why his goal record had improved so dramatically - his total 29, for club and country, is his best yet - he said. "Probably more shooting to be honest!"

He added: "I think I have come inside a lot more. I have a few less assists this year but I am in more scoring positions these days and that has obviously helped my scoring tally as we have seen this season.

"I don't really look to individual awards. The biggest thing is playing for your team and going well. If you do well then these awards come along. I don't think individual awards are something you strive for, it's just a bonus."

Luis Suarez was included in the PFA team of the year, which had four representatives from Manchester United: David De Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie.

Kim Little, the Arsenal midfielder, won the women's player of the year award after finishing top scorer in the Women's Super League.

The PFA risked controversy last night when the comedian at their awards night made liberal use of the word 'n*****' in his set.

There were complaints from audience members about Reginald D Hunter, an American comedian, who is black, and began his set by explaining to his audience that he used the word in question to refer to people of all races.

He continued by remarking that English football had its own race issues. He than made a joke about the Luis Suarez biting incident, referring to the Liverpool striker by the term 'n******'.

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