Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk was named as England’s PFA Player of the Year for 2019 on Sunday, succeeding team mate, Mohamed Salah.
Van Dijk was voted for by his fellow players and saw off competition from Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling.
But Sterling, 24, was named the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year, following on from City colleague Leroy Sane.
Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton for £75 million ($97 million, 87 million euros) in January 2018.
From Salah to Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool players won the Player of the Year back to back
The 27-year-old Dutchman has been an ever-present for Liverpool in their bid to dethrone City as Premier League champions this season, with Sterling’s side one point clear of the Reds at the top of the table with just two games left to play.
Van Dijk has starred in a hugely improved Liverpool defence that has kept 20 clean sheets and conceded a mere 20 goals in the current campaign.
– ‘Unbelievable’ –
“It’s pretty difficult to put into words,” said Van Dijk, the first defender to win the award since Chelsea’s John Terry 14 years ago.
“I think 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. It’s special. I’m very proud and honoured to receive it.”