Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli capped a brilliant breakthrough season by winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award on Sunday.
The 20-year-old, who was also named in the PFA Team of the Year, was recognised after registering 10 goals and 12 assists in his debut campaign in the Barclays Premier League.
He held off competition from team-mate Harry Kane, Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Everton duo Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley.
Alli was unable to collect the award in person at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, with Spurs hosting West Brom on Monday, but Ossie Ardiles collected the prize on his behalf and the youngster sent a video message.
“Thank you Ossie, the Tottenham legend for receiving this award for me,” Alli said.
“Sorry I can’t be there tonight but we have a big game tomorrow. Thank you for to everyone who voted for me.
“I feel honoured to win such a prestigious award and thank you to my friends, family and all the staff at Tottenham.”
Alli, who won the Football League Young Player of the Year 12 months ago, joined Tottenham from MK Dons in 2015 and was expected to be used sparingly in his first season at White Hart Lane.
Mauricio Pochettino, however, decided Alli was ready to be a first-team regular and the youngster has more than justified his manager’s faith, playing a leading role in Spurs’ surprise title challenge.
Perhaps his finest moment of the campaign came against Crystal Palace in January, when he cushioned the ball on his knee, flicked it over his head and volleyed home from outside the penalty area.
Alli’s athleticism, creativity and goals have also won the admiration of Roy Hodgson, who handed him his England debut against Estonia in October.
He now has six caps and on the fourth of those against France he scored his first international goal, firing past team-mate Hugo Lloris at Wembley.
Hodgson predicted last month Alli could be England’s new Bryan Robson, while Sir Alex Ferguson has said he is the most gifted young midfielder since Paul Gascoigne.
Pochettino pulled his players out of the PFA Awards ceremony as Tottenham look to beat West Brom and cut the gap to leaders Leicester to five points again.
The Foxes thrashed Swansea 4-0 on Sunday to strengthen their position at the top of the table.
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