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Remembering the last six players to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award

Erling Haaland was named as the winner of the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year last week, with the forward recognised for his feats during a record-breaking season at Manchester City.

Haaland won 82% of the votes to win the award ahead of Arsenal duo Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka and joins an illustrious group of players to have won the prestigious accolade since it was first handed to Stanley Matthews in the 1947/48 season.

Following Haaland’s achievement, we’ve looked back at the last six winners of the award.

Here are the the last six players to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award.

Mohamed Salah – 2017/18

Mohamed Salah announced his arrival at Liverpool with a spectacular first season with the Reds in 2017/18.

Salah had struggled during an underwhelming first spell in the Premier League at Chelsea, but returned to English football transformed and with a point to prove. The Egypt international signed for Liverpool in a £36m deal from Roma and marked his debut with a goal at Watford.

It was the first of a then record-breaking haul from Salah, who scored 32 league goals to win a host of individual accolades. Salah was voted as the FWA Footballer of the Year ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne in a close-fought vote, having scored 44 goals and provided 14 assists in 52 appearances across all competitions.

He also won the Premier League’s Golden Boot, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season awards, having helped Liverpool secure a top four finish and reach the 2018 Champions League final.

Salah became the third Liverpool player to win the FWA award in the Premier League era, after Steven Gerrard (2009) and Luis Suarez (2014).

Raheem Sterling – 2018/19

Raheem Sterling became the first Manchester City player in 50 years to win the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award in 2018/19, following the winger’s starring role in the club’s unprecedented domestic treble success.

Sterling finished comfortably ahead of PFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk in the voting, with team-mate Sergio Aguero voted third. The England international scored 25 goals in all competitions as City beat Liverpool in a tense title race, including a brace in the FA Cup final win over Watford as Pep Guardiola’s side became the first side to complete a clean sweep of domestic honours in a single season.

Sterling was also recognised for his work away from the pitch, with the winger taking an active role in pushing for harder sanctions against those found guilty of discriminatory behaviour. He put his name to a manifesto calling for change in how the sport’s authorities deal with racism in football.

Jordan Henderson – 2019/20

Liverpool’s first top-flight title in three decades was recognised as the Reds dominated the voting for the 2019/20 award, with captain Jordan Henderson claiming the individual accolade.

Henderson won the award ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, with Liverpool team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane rounding out the top five.

Henderson was a driving force as Liverpool won the Premier League with a club-record 99 points, following the best start to a season in the history of Europe’s top five leagues. He also captained the club to Club World Cup success after their Champions League win the previous season and was named as the England national team’s Player of the Year in January 2020.

The FWA award completed a transformation for Henderson from a player heavily criticised in his early career to one recognised for his contribution to the Liverpool side.

The midfielder was also instrumental in the #PlayersTogether initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic, in which he called together Premier League captains to bring aid during the pandemic and raised £4m for the NHS.

Ruben Dias – 2020/21

Ruben Dias became the first defender in the Premier League era to win the FWA Footballer of the Year award after leading Manchester City to the title in 2020/21.

Not since Liverpool’s Steve Nicol in 1989 had a defender won the accolade, but Dias’ contribution after signing from Benfica saw him celebrated at the season’s end.

The centre-back was a major factor in shoring up a City defence which had lacked presence since the departure of Vincent Kompany and Dias’ form in Europe helped Pep Guardiola’s side reach the Champions League final for the first time.

The Portugal international emerged as the leader of the division’s best defence to win the award ahead of Manchester City teammate Kevin De Bruyne and Tottenham forward Harry Kane.

Mohamed Salah – 2021/22

Mohamed Salah won the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year for a second time in 2021/22, following another season of remarkable productivity around goal.

Salah ended the season as the Premier League’s leading scorer and assist provider to earn the division’s Golden Boot and Playmaker awards alongside his FWA accolade.

He became just the seventh player in the division’s history to have topped the Premier League for goals and assists during his career in English football, while his league-leading number of goals earned the Egyptian a third Golden Boot – only Thierry Henry has ever won more.

Salah’s performances helped Liverpool to a domestic cup double and he earned him 48% of the votes to win the accolade ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and West Ham’s Declan Rice. He became just third player to win the accolade more than once in the Premier League era, after Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Erling Haaland – 2022/23

Erling Haaland claimed a whopping 82% of the votes to win the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year in 2022/23, following a phenomenal season of record-breaking feats from the Norwegian.

Haaland was the major addition in last summer’s transfer window after completing his highly-anticipated move from Borussia Dortmund to the Premier League champions, but few could have envisaged such success even given his obvious pedigree.

The 22-year-old has made a mockery of suggestions he would need time to adapt to the division, smashing a whole host of records including for the most goals in a Premier League season.

At the time of writing Haaland has 52 goals in all competitions, comfortably the highest a Premier League player has ever scored in a single season and the second-highest total in English football history, behind Dixie Dean’s legendary 63-goal season for Everton in 1927/28.

City are on the verge of reclaiming the Premier League title and are also competing for Champions League and FA Cup success before the season’s end. A historic treble, matching the feat of their Mancunian neighbours 24 years ago, is a real possibility with Haaland firing their challenge.

Read – Remembering each UCL semi-final Pep Guardiola has been involved in as a manager

Read Also – Remembering Inter Milan’s ridiculous strike force from 1999/2000

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