LONDON: Raheem Sterling was named the 2019 footballer of the year by the Football Writers’ Association on Monday hours after missing out on the players’ player of the year award. The Manchester City and England forward topped the poll of the 400-strong FWA membership as a clear winner, with 62% of the votes, more than 100 ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk. Sterling’s team-mate Sergio Aguero was in third place. On Sunday, Sterling, 24, lost out to Van Dijk in the battle for the Professional Footballers’ Association award but was announced PFA young player of the year. Sterling has been a key man in Pep Guardiola’s side as they battle with Liverpool for the Premier League title and has received praise for the strong stance he has taken against racism in the game, having himself been subjected to abuse. Sterling has scored 29 goals for club and country, including a hat-trick for England in the opening Euro 2020 qualifier against the Czech Republic at Wembley, while also helping Gareth Southgate’s young squad reach this summer’s Nations League Finals. Manchester City’s England forward Nikita Parris won the women’s footballer of the year award. — AFP
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