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Winger Riyad Mahrez of Leicester named English Premier League’s player of year – SportsUntapped.com
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Added April 26th, 2016 by Ian

Winger Riyad Mahrez of Leicester named English Premier League’s player of year
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The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) in England has named Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez as the Premier League’s player of the year. The 25-year-old becomes the first African player to win the award. The announcement was made on April 24th even though there are still a few weeks to go in the 2015/16 season. Mahrez scored his 17th goal of the campaign earlier in the day as Leicester City downed Swansea City 4-0 at home at King Power Stadium. The win gave Leicester an eight-point lead over Tottenham Hotspur for the league title with Leicester having three games to play and Spurs having a game in hand.

Mahrez headed a six-man list for the award which also included Leicester teammates N’Golo Kante of France and Jamie Vardy of England as well as England’s Harry Kane of Tottenham, Germany’s Mesut Ozil of Arsenal and Frenchman Dimitri Payet of West Ham United. Mahrez was thrilled with the award and told the media, “I’m very grateful to receive this award. It’s extra special because if the players vote for me, it’s because they’ve seen I’ve been great this year, so I’m happy. But it’s more team things. Without my teammates I wouldn’t get this award.”

It may surprise some fans to hear that Mahrez is just the second non-English player to win the honour. Uruguay’s international striker Luis Suarez was the first when he won it as a member of Liverpool in 2014. Mahrez is definitely the bargain of the season as the Algerian was bought by Leicester City from second-tier French club Le Havre two years ago for under 500,000 pounds. That’s quite the steal considering that the record Premier League signing was 59.7 million pounds when Manchester United bought forward Angel Di Maria two years ago and he was a huge flop in England.

On the other hand, Mahrez has brought a lot of creativity to the league and along with his timely goals he’s also chipped in with 11 assists. Mahrez is now one of the key players for a Leicester side which barely avoided relegation a year ago. Before the season kicked off, bookmakers listed Leicester as a 5000/1 long shot to win the Premier League, but the team appears to be on the brink of winning its first ever top-tier championship. However, the club still needs to win two of its remaining three matches to be guaranteed the crown.

Twenty-year-old English international midfielder Dele Alli was named the league’s young player of the year by the PFA. The youngster was playing in League Two last season with MK Dons and has shown that he is a worthy Premier League player by scoring 10 goals and adding 12 assists so far this season. He could also be a key player for England at the European Championships in France this summer. In addition, former Manchester United forward Ryan Giggs of Wales was the recipient of the “meritorious service to football award. Giggs, who was named the 2009 player of the year, is still with Man United as an assistant manager.

Giggs has won more awards than anybody else in England as Giggs won a pair of Champions League titles with Man United along with four FA Cups and 13 Premier League championships. The Professional Writers’ Association will announce their winner of the Premier League’s player of the year award at a later date, but there’s a good chance Mahrez could also take that trophy home with him too.

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