West Ham's Scott Parker wins Football Writers' award

Scott Parker
Parker has scored five Premier League goals this season

West Ham midfielder Scott Parker has been voted Player of the Year for 2011 by the Football Writers' Association.

Parker, 30, topped the poll of journalists ahead of Tottenham's Gareth Bale, recently named the Professional Footballers' Association choice.

His form this season earned him an international recall for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in March.

"When I got the phone call to say I'd won it, I was speechless really," said Parker. "I'm absolutely delighted."

The former Charlton, Chelsea, and Newcastle player's recognition has been widely backed by top Premier League managers, and Parker will receive the award in London on 12 May.

As well as Bale, Parker also pipped some high-profile names to the award including Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic and Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez, as well as Blackpool's talismanic midfielder Charlie Adam.

"It is fantastic to get the award," said Parker.

"You're always surprised when you get awards - there's always an element of surprise. I feel like I have been playing some good stuff so I'm just glad that I've been picked and people appreciate what I've been doing.

"Normally it's at the other end of the league where the players are winning it.

"There's probably a lot of other candidates - Charlie Adam, Gareth Bale - I'm really really buzzing that people are appreciating what I'm doing, or what I'm trying to do."

Parker is only the second Hammers recipient of the award, following in the footsteps of legendary England skipper Bobby Moore in 1964.

"That means a lot to me," he added.

Parker's award is even more impressive considering West Ham's lowly position and the poor season they have had.

They head into their last five games of the Premier League campaign one place off the bottom of the table.

"I'm playing well, [but] obviously I wish we could be in a better position in the league," said Parker.

"Last season we had our troubles and it's gone into this season. We have got a very good squad and some very good players, but for one reason or another we haven't picked up the points we need.

"If I could put my finger on it, I would. We need to try to pick up some results. But we still have a chance."

FWA chairman Steve Bates, chief football writer at The People, explained why they had decided to go for Parker.

"Parker has been so consistent this season with his performances in a West Ham team battling for Premier League survival and, as such, has forced himself back into the England national set-up," he said.

"He has been an inspirational figure for the Irons and hopefully his professionalism will be rewarded with West Ham staying up at the end of the season."

Parker's club manager Avram Grant said he was "very positive" that he would still be at the club next season, and applauded the decision to look beyond players involved in the title chase.

"Not every time do you need to choose someone from the top teams," he said.

"He did a lot for the team, he was good even in the games he played for the national team.

"For us he is not just a good football player, he is a good person. It is very important to be a positive person who is an example."

Parker was praised by his team-mates after they responded to his impassioned half-time team-talk to come back from 3-0 down and salvage a draw away to West Brom in February.

Despite his own players, like centre-back Vidic and striker Javier Hernandez being overlooked, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insisted Parker deserves the honour.

"It is a good step forward to give it to a really good professional," he said.

"He [Parker] is probably the player who has driven them [West Ham] on and motivated them to still have a chance of staying up, even though they have a mountain to climb now.

"It is nice to recognise someone outside the clubs who always get publicity like United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also backed the choice, saying: "It is a justifiable choice because he has had an outstanding season. Until recently, when he was stopped by injuries, he was very influential in the West Ham team."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who was linked with Parker last summer, said his performances this season will make him difficult to hang onto if the Hammers are relegated.

"What he has done this year in a struggling team is great. I'm delighted for him," he said.

"I've always liked him. You couldn't dislike him as a guy and a player.

"Hopefully West Ham will stay up and he'll stay. If they don't stay up they've got a problem keeping the Footballer of the Year haven't they?"

BBC Sport's chief football writer, Phil McNulty, added: "Parker's selection as the FWA Footballer of the Year only underlines the scale of his contribution to a West Ham team that could still be relegated - and probably would be already if it wasn't for his professionalism and performances.

"It's often easy to shine in a good side but Parker has carried a poor team and has been so outstanding that he has finally convinced England coach Fabio Capello of his worth. A worthy winner."

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