RVP 'SURPRISED' BY FWA AWARD
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie said he never thought he would be Footballer of the Year after collecting the FWA award at Thursday's gala dinner in London.
The Holland striker, 28, topped the Football Writers' Association poll with a landslide victory ahead of Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney in second place and his Old Trafford team-mate Paul Scholes third, with Fulham's Clint Dempsey fourth.
Van Persie's 35 goals in all competitions have helped propel the Gunners into the top four of the Premier League, leaving them on the brink of automatic Champions League qualification for next season.
Van Persie - who was also named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year - collected the prestigious FWA accolade, which has been running since 1948, at the London Lancaster Hotel on Thursday evening and admitted it was an unexpected honour.
"It makes me very proud to be here, I have seen the list [of previous winners], and for me, I never really thought I would be sitting here winning this trophy," Van Persie said.
"But even this season I was not really thinking about winning a trophy for myself, I was just playing because I love it and for Arsenal to finish as high as possible in the league.
"When I found out I had actually won it, I was a bit surprised, and was like 'what me? really?'
"It makes me really proud to be part of that history."
Van Persie, who has yet to agree a new, long-term deal with the Gunners, revealed being honoured by both his peers and journalists alike was a humbling experience.
The Dutchman added: "The writers know everything about the season because they have seen every single game, analysed ever goal, every move, they know everything about you.
"They are doing interviews with me and other players, they get a clear picture of who is the best player, which is why it means so much that these guys have voted for me."
FWA chairman Steve Bates, chief football writer at The People, paid tribute to the Gunners skipper.
He said: "Robin van Persie has had a quite magnificent season, excelling with consistent flashes of individual brilliance which have lit up the Barclays Premier League as well as bolstering Arsenal's season.
"It is hard to think of another player in the Premier League this season who has had such a galvanising effect on the team than Van Persie.
"The quality of Van Persie's attacking play, both in terms of goals and movement, have often been breathtaking to watch and the landslide manner of his victory to win our prestigious award is an accurate reflection of his season."
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