Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has been named the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year for 2015-16.
The 29-year-old has been outstanding for the Premier League leaders, scoring 22 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions for the Foxes.
He said: “It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious award and to have my name added to a list of previous winners that includes some unbelievable players. Thank you to the Football Writers’ Association and to everyone that voted.
“Thank you, also, to my team-mates, who are the reason I’ve been able to achieve anything. It’s been an amazing season for all of us at Leicester, based on team-work, not individuals, which you can see in the voting.
“Thanks also to the manager, all the staff and the fans for their support. We’re all totally focused on getting over the line in the final two weeks of the season and turning a great season into one we’ll never forget.
“Hopefully I can contribute to that and, if selected, carry some good form into the Euros this summer.”
Vardy, who was playing non-league football with Fleetwood four years ago, broke the Premier League record for scoring in successive games earlier this season.
He surpassed the total set by Ruud van Nistelrooy by scoring in 11 straight matches from August 29 to November 28.
Vardy, who made his England debut in June 2015, scored his first international goal in March against Germany in Berlin, before bagging his second three days later against the Netherlands at Wembley.
And FWA chairman Andy Dunn, journalist for the Sunday Mirror, told Sky Sports News HQ that his story from non-league to Premier League-champion elect captured the imagination of the writers.
“Even though it’s Footballer of the Year, I think this award for Jamie Vardy is recognition of the journey he’s been on,” Dunn said.
“He’s gone from scoring in non-league to scoring in the Premier League and inevitably going on to be a Premier League champion, and to scoring goals for England. The writers love the story of him coming from non-league.
“It was Leicester dominated – a clean sweep: one, two, three. Vardy won it, Riyad Mahrez came second and N’Golo Kante third. In fact, seven Leicester players polled in our vote.”
He was also nominated for PFA Player of the Year this season, won by Leicester team-mate Riyad Mahrez.
The winner of Footballer of the Year is voted for by FWA members – a group of around 400 football journalists. This year is the first time a Leicester City player has received the award in its 69-year history.
Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard won the 2014-15 award, while Luis Suarez picked up the trophy in 2013-14 while at Liverpool.