Gerrard surprised but happy at player of the year honour

LIVERPOOL&rsquo;S trophy charge may seem destined to end fruitlessly but captain Steven Gerrard&rsquo;s efforts have not gone unrewarded after he was voted Footballer of the Year by writers.<br /><br />Gerrard, 28, saw off competition from PFA Player of the Year Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney &ndash; both of Premier League champions-elect Manchester United &ndash; in the annual poll by the Football Writers&rsquo; Association.<br /><br />The England midfielder has scored 24 goals this season as Liverpool have mounted their strongest title challenge in years. Gerrard has also finally shown signs of reproducing his inspirational club form at international level and helped the Reds reach the last four of the Champions League.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m delighted but I&rsquo;m a little bit surprised,&rdquo; said Gerrard. &ldquo;When you look at the quality of the players there are in this league, it&rsquo;s a great privilege to win this kind of award.&rdquo;<br /><br />Gerrard polled 73 of the 202 votes to Giggs&rsquo;s 63 and Rooney&rsquo;s 36, while Fifa World Player of the Year and fellow United star Cristiano Ronaldo garnered only three.<br /><br />The former Liverpool trainee is the first player from the club to win the award since John Barnes in 1990 &ndash; the last year they won the league.<br /><br />Manager Rafael Benitez said: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m really pleased for Steven. For him to be named player of the year is massive credit to him and shows just how much he has achieved.&rdquo;<br /><br />Giggs, 35, was voted player of the year by fellow professionals last month but the outcome drew criticism over the winger&rsquo;s relatively marginal contribution to United&rsquo;s success.