Kevin De Bruyne has missed out on the Football Writers Association’s award for the Footballer of the Year. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has won the prize after helping the Merseysiders win their maiden Premier League title. De Bruyne was a frontrunner for the award this term having put forth a stellar performance that could see him break the Premier League assist record when Manchester City face relegated Norwich on Sunday.
Despite having one of his best seasons in a City shirt with 11 goals and 19 assists so far, the numbers could not help the team retain the title. Meanwhile, Henderson was a key figure as Liverpool romped to a commanding lead in the title race. The gulf in league results between the two teams this campaign has been huge with Jurgen Klopp’s side losing only three games all season.
But the award is not given solely based on performance on the pitch. Football Writers Association members also vote for a player in English football deemed to have exhibited exemplary conduct off the pitch. According to the body, the award goes “to the professional player who by precept and example is considered by a ballot of members to be the footballer of the year.”
So apart from Henderson’s role in helping Liverpool end a 30-year wait for the title, he was also found to be exemplary off the field during the uncertain time prompted by Covid-19. The 30-year-old put forth the Players Together initiative that raised money for those battling the virus on the frontline and other key areas of need. The former Sunderland midfielder also played a leading role in representing the views of players to ensure the safe return of football.
Raheem Sterling won the prize last year, beating Virgil van Dijk by 100 votes. The City forward was also in the running this term alongside De Bruyne, Van Dijk, Marcus Rashford, and Sadio Mane. Other players voted for include Sergio Aguero, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jack Grealish, James Madison, Alisson Becker, Danny Ings, Jonny Evans and Adama Traore.
The PFA Player of the Year award will be awarded soon. This was determined by the players themselves.