By Nick Harris
26 April 2010
Wayne Rooney won the PFA Footballer of the Year award last night after being voted the outstanding player of the 2009-10 season in England by his peers. After the 24-year-old striker was handed his award by Jimmy Greaves, he said he would be fit and ready to play in the World Cup – following ankle and groin injuries – and said he hoped to be back in action for Manchester United before the end of the season.
Aston Villa’s James Milner picked up the Young Footballer of the Year award.
With two Premier League games to play, Chelsea top the Premier League by a single point today after beating Stoke City 7-0 yesterday. United briefly went top after beating Tottenham 3-1 on Saturday. Chelsea play at Liverpool on Sunday before ending the season on 9 May at home to Wigan, while United play at Sunderland on Sunday then finish the season at home to Stoke.
If United and Chelsea both win both their remaining games, Chelsea will be champions. If United win both their games while Chelsea fail to win both theirs, United will be champions.
Rooney said last night that he expected Liverpool to provide stiff opposition for Chelsea in Sunday’s game, then cracked a supremely dry joke by adding that Liverpool were still chasing . . . Europa Cup football next season. (Liverpool could still finish fourth and therefore get into the Champions League next season; Rooney as an old Evertonian obviously couldn’t resist a stab at the Red side of Liverpool’s plight.)
Remaining in good humour, when asked about his success with headed goals this season, he said it was down to his expanding bald spot.
Among Rooney’s friends in the audience was the boxer (and Man City fan) Ricky Hatton, who received a loud cheer on being introduced but was in too jovial a mood to reply sensibly when asked if and when he might return to the boxing ring.
Another interviewee was Birmingham’s manager – and former Scotland boss – Alex McLeish, who said with apparent sincerity that he would “love it” if England won the World Cup this summer.