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Gerrard wins Footballer of the Year award

  • Story Highlights
  • Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is named Footballer of the Year in England
  • Manchester United pair Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney are second and third
  • Gerrard has scored 23 goals in Liverpool's English title challenge this season
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(CNN) -- Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has fought off competition from a clutch of Manchester United players to be named Footballer of the Year in England.

Gerrard has proved the driving force for Liverpool this season.

Gerrard has proved the driving force for Liverpool this season.

The 28-year-old England international topped the poll of journalists ahead of United pair Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney with their teammates Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand rounding out the top five.

Gerrard secured 73 votes from a total of 202 with Giggs on 63.

The prestigious award has been running since 1948 and been won by some of the greats of the game such as Stanley Matthews, Bobby Moore and George Best.

The chairman of the football writers' association Steve Bates gave the reasons for his selection.

"Steven's performances this season have been of the highest quality," he told Press Association.

"His drive and desire have underpinned Liverpool's Premier League title challenge and ensured a tight finish to the season."

Gerrard, who was brought up on Merseyside, has been in outstanding form for Liverpool this season in their sustained challenge to Manchester United in the Premier League title race, scoring 15 goals from midfield.

His loyalty to his hometown club saw him reject overtures from Chelsea soon after helping Liverpool to their epic Champions League victory over AC Milan in 2005.

Gerrard's ultimate ambition in club football is to help the Reds win the English championship for the first time since 1990.

He is the first Liverpool player to win the award since John Barnes from that successful side.

"I'm delighted but I'm a little bit surprised," the 28-year-old told his club's official Web site. "When you look at the quality of the players there are in this league, it's a great privilege to win this kind of award."

Veteran Giggs was named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year in April and has been in superb form for United in their relentless quest for multiple trophies.

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