Rooney's top dog in the Prem - and there are divisional awards for Doyle, Flahavan and Hawley too
Now Wayne's got another award to add to his growing collection.(©Empics)
By Dave Smith 26-04-06
Man of the moment Wayne Rooney has added another award to the PFA Young Player of the Year title he claimed for the second successive season on Sunday night - as he has been named the PFA's Official Fans' Player of the Year for 2006.
Having been recognised by his fellow professionals at the annual Player of the Year dinner, the Manchester United striker's performances for club and country this season have also been acknowledged by supporters up and down the country.
Under the expert guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, Rooney just continues to get better and better - and he admits he has learned a lot in a short time following his mega-bucks move from Everton.
The England star admits: "Early on in my career I received a lot of bad press about my temperament. But I was only a young lad then. I am still young now but I have been playing professionally for four years and I am learning from every game I play. The more you learn, the better you become."
And Rooney pays tribute to his United teammates, young and old, for aiding his career development. "You can only learn from playing with experienced pros like Giggs, Scholes and Gary Neville. But I've learned things from a few of the younger players coming through too, like Ronaldo, John O'Shea and Darren Fletcher. You can learn from everyone."
After receiving his Young Player of the Year award on Sunday night, Rooney said: "To win it twice on the run is a great honour and I am delighted with the award. As a team, we (United) have done a bit better than last year, so it is an improvement. Hopefully we can continue that and I will be sitting here again next season.
"We have progressed as a team, and my awareness has been a lot better. We have defended really well as a team, the likes of Louis Saha have come in and done really well for us. There has been competition for places over the last few months, and that is why we have done better."
Whilst United have the 'small' matter of a title showdown with Chelsea at the weekend, Rooney also has half an eye on this summer's World Cup finals - and is setting his sights on the trophy itself. He expects to be something of a marked man in Germany though.
He said: "People will probably know more about me at the World Cup than they did at the European Championships two years ago. I am sure at times they will try to intimidate me. But I just have to deal with it, play my own game and try not to think about the opposition too much.
"This is probably the best chance we have of winning a major tournament, and I can't wait. There is a mixture of youth and experience in the team, and the team spirit is certainly the best it ever has been since I have been involved in the squad.
"We have got match winners in there, and that can only be good for us going into the World Cup. I cannot wait for the World Cup to come around. Hopefully from now until the end of the season, I can keep myself fit, free from injury and go to the World Cup fresh."
Winner of the award in the Championship is Reading's Kevin Doyle who has enjoyed an outstanding first season in league football, scoring on a regular basis as the mighty Royals stormed to the title.
It was Doyle, who joined the club from Cork City last summer, who grabbed the goal that clinched promotion with weeks of the season still to play when he hit his 14th of the season in the draw at Leicester.
Reflecting on a memorable debut campaign the 22-year-old Republic of Ireland international, recently voted the Eircom/FAI Under 21 Player of the Year said: "I could never have dreamed all this happening to me a few months ago. The season has gone 100 times better than I had expected.
"If next season goes just ten per cent as well as this one, I will be happy. Now we want to survive in the Premiership. It can be done. Finishing above the bottom three will be a success. But who knows, we could even get into Europe."
League One Fans' Player of the Year is Southend keeper Darryl Flahavan who, like Doyle, should cap a memorable week by clinching promotion at the weekend after an excellent season between the sticks for the Shrimpers.
The goals of Karl Hawley have helped Carlisle achieve their aim of back-to-back promotions - and his performances for the Cumbrians this season have made him the fans' favourite in League Two.