Virgil van Dijk and Raheem Sterling claim PFA Men’s Player and Young Player of the Year


Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award while contender for the main award Raheem Sterling was crowned Young Player of the 2018/2019 season.

Dutch defender van Dijk overcame the aforementioned Sterling while also beating out the Englishman’s team-mates Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero. Chelsea forward Eden Hazard and Liverpool star Sadio Mane were also up for the award.

The 27-year-old is the first defender since Chelsea legend John Terry, who won the award back in the 2004/2005,  to win the award. He’s also only the sixth ever defender to win since the award’s creation in 1973–74, with former Leeds defender Norman Hunter winning the first ever one.

It’s the second year in a row that a Liverpool player has won the award after Egyptian team-mate Mohamed Salah claimed the gong last campaign.

This season Van Dijk has been one of the stand-out stars in an incredible Liverpool squad which has seen them go toe to toe with last season’s champions Manchester City. The Dutchman has played in every Premier League game so far for the Reds.

The Anfield based club have 19 clean sheets from their 36 league matches this season, having won 28 of them. The former Southampton player has scored three times and assisted twice this campaign

Since arriving from the Saints for a world record fee for a defender (£75m), the Netherlands international has played 67 times for Jurgen Klopp’s side and has also led them to the final of last seasons Champions League.

He has this season helped them to the semi-final of the same tournament while they remain a point off of City in the title race with two matches to go.

Van Dijk had this to say about the award:

“It’s special. I’m very proud and honoured to receive it. It’s the highest honour you can get as a player to get voted player of the year by the players you play against every week.”

Many people expected it to be a two horse race between the defender and City winger Sterling for the award. In the end, the Englishman had to settle for the Young Player of the Year.

The 24-year-old beat City team-mate Silva, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

The England international becomes the second player in a row to win the award while playing in the blue half of Manchester, after team-mate Leroy Sane won it last season.

There had been a strong case for the winger to win the overall major accolade considering his form in the league for the current table toppers. This season Sterling has scored 17 goals and assisted ten times in the league.

Sterling is still on for a treble of trophies this season as City look to add the FA Cup and Premier League to the Carabao Cup they won in February. The winger scored the decisive penalty in that final as Pep Guardiola’s Citizens defeated Chelsea.

The winger also received recognition for his stance against racism in football this season, due to his criticism of national newspaper’s coverage and portrayal of black players. He’s also since added that he believes stronger punishments should be in place to stop supporters who racially abuse players.


About Author

News writer for Prost International, I get out to games but mainly cover EFL and women's football. Found here:

Comments are closed.