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Leicester striker Riyadh Mahrez named PFA player of the year


mahrezzLeicester City forward Riyad Mahrez has won the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.

Mahrez has scored 17 goals and made 11 assists in 34 league games to take Leicester to the cusp of the title.

The award was voted for by the Algeria international’s fellow professionals.

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli, 20, was named PFA Young Player of the Year, while Manchester City forward Izzy Christiansen won the Women’s Player of the Year award.

Sunderland striker Beth Mead, 20, was named Women’s Young Player of the Year.

Mahrez, 25, held off competition from Tottenham forward Harry Kane, Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, West Ham United midfielder Dimitri Payet and fellow Leicester men Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante to win the award.

Mahrez was handed the prize at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday, hours after scoring in his side’s 4-0 win over Swansea City as leaders Leicester moved to within five points of the title.

“Without my team-mates I wouldn’t get this award,” Mahrez, who joined Leicester from French second-tier side Le Havre in January 2014, said.

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“And for my manager and the staff – without them I wouldn’t receive this award and I wouldn’t score. It’s the team spirit, and I want to dedicate it to them.

“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.”

One year ago, Alli was getting ready to play at Rochdale for MK Dons having been loaned back to the League One club after signing for Tottenham for an initial £5m in February 2015.

This season he has scored 10 times in 32 top-flight games to help Spurs challenge Leicester for the title.

In addition, Alli has made six senior appearances for England, scoring in a 2-0 friendly win over France last November.

Alli was unable to collect the award in person as Tottenham host West Brom on Monday, but former Spurs player and manager Ossie Ardiles collected the prize on his behalf.

“Thank you Ossie, the Tottenham legend for receiving this award for me,” Alli said in a video message screened at the awards.

“Sorry I can’t be there tonight but we have a big game tomorrow.”