MANCHESTER – Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah has been voted Player of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association (FWA) to complete the double of English soccer’s major individual awards.
Salah was chosen as player of the year by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) after an outstanding season in which he has scored 43 goals in all competitions so far.
The 25-year-old is the first African player to win the FWA award, which began in 1948.
Salah narrowly beat Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in a ballot of over 400 FWA members, with the winning margin less than 20 votes. Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane was placed third.
“What a race it has been between two players who, in a relatively short time, have reached genuine world class. But Mo Salah is the worthiest of winners. We congratulate him on a magnificent season,” FWA Chairman Patrick Barclay said.
Salah has helped Liverpool, who are third in the Premier League, into the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in 10 years.
The Merseyside club face AS Roma in the second leg in the Italian capital today and lead 5-2 from the opening game at Anfield in which Salah scored twice and set up two other goals.
Salah will head to the World Cup in Russia in June to play for Egypt, who have been drawn with the hosts, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
* Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is confident that many of his top players will follow the example of striker Roberto Firmino and extend their stays at the club.
“It’s unbelievably important news for us. Really cool,” Klopp said. “This is one very important step for us.”
“He’s the first but for sure he won’t be the last.”