Cesc glows with pride after winning Young Player accolade

Cesc Fabregas was bursting with pride this week after becoming the first Arsenal player in a decade to win the PFA Young Player award. The Spain international took the gong – previously won by Nicolas Anelka back in the 1998-99 season – at a glittering aw

Cesc Fabregas was bursting with pride this week after becoming the first Arsenal player in a decade to win the PFA Young Player award.

The Spain international took the gong - previously won by Nicolas Anelka back in the 1998-99 season - at a glittering awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

It will make amends, in some small way, for another trophy-less season at The Emirates.

The award clearly meant a lot to him.


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Voted for by his fellow professionals, he beat the likes of compatriot Fernando Torres and rising English stars Micah Richards, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young.

"I'm very proud. It's a very prestigious trophy," said a beaming Fabregas, clutching his award on Sunday evening.

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"Football is a collective game and you prefer to win trophies with team-mates but it's always nice to have this type of award.

"I dedicate it to my team-mates because without them I would not have won."

Like the Catalan, David Hillier wore the No 4 shirt with distinction back in the early 1990s.

But he went one better than a player widely considered one of the finest talents in world football - and won a title winner's medal in George Graham's memorable 1991 championship side.

Now a fireman in Bristol, Hillier has marvelled at Fabregas's ability to extinguish opponents' threats - and produce some sparks of his own at the other end of the pitch.

"Wow, believe me, to do the things he does, to run games like he does, to find the space and the passes he does - well, it's a special kind of talent that comes around very rarely indeed," Hillier told Wood&Vale Sport. "The bloke fully deserves the award."

But, he added, Fabregas must not be pushed into the captaincy before his time if his manager, Arsene Wenger, relieves William Gallas of the skipper's armband in the summer.

The Arsenal boss has admitted he will review the situation at the end of the season - and Fabregas is the choice of most fans to succeed the ineffectual France defender.

"I think Wenger's reckoning was that Gallas was a volatile character and it would mature him a little bit - that hasn't really happened," said the 38-year-old south Londoner, who moved to Portsmouth in 1996 shortly after Wenger arrived.

He later played for Bristol Rovers and Barnet before retiring from the game for a career in the emergency services in the west country.

"Fabregas is a possible replacement as skipper, but I would like to see someone in the 27-30 age bracket. He's vastly experienced for his age - far more than I was at his age. He must have played well over 150 games in the Premier League already.

"In that sense he could do it. But I say let the bloke continue to mature, continue to let his great talent blossom, and see what he becomes - let's not hinder him with extra responsibilities.

Emmanuel Eboue agrees. He came out all-guns blazing this week, claiming the side will get even better next season and that they should be proud of their achievements this campaign "We don't have to be ashamed of our season," he said.

"We have given everything we had. I have faith in this squad, in these players and in our coach, to bring us to the top.

"At the start of the season, nobody was thinking that we could challenge for the title. So everything we did was positive. We have defied the odds and this squad can achieve so much more.

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