Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling has been named the English Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award.
Sterling, 24, took the writers’ men’s award with 62% of the vote, getting more than 100 votes ahead of his closest rival Virgil Van Dijk. Elsewhere, Virgil van Dijk was named the Professional Football Association PFA Player of the Year.
The award has been presented since the 1973–74 season and the winner is chosen by a vote amongst the members of the players’ trade union, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA)
Sterling’s stance against racism earned him the recognition, besides his outstanding performance this year, according to Football Writers Association chair Carrie Brown.
She said: “Raheem Sterling is an exemplar of the talent and values our founding fathers sought to reward when they established the FWA in 1947.” “To have been voted the 2019 Footballer of the Year by our members, and with such an overwhelming majority, clearly acknowledges the contribution from a player over one season but it also recognises the huge impact of Raheem’s courage to challenge preconceptions and fight racism, which will leave a legacy not just for future generations in football but society as a whole.
Sterling is the first City player to win the award since 1969, when Tony Book shared the honour with Derby’s Dave Mackay.
As well as his 29 goals for club and country, the England forward was also praised for his public stance against racism, which has already won him other awards.