Players hail Bale as Welsh winger wins awards double

TOTTENHAM star Gareth Bale became only the third man ever to win the Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards in the same season last night.

The 23-year-old has been prolific for Spurs this term with 24 goals, including 13 in his last 14 games, and joins retired Aston Villa striker Andy Gray, 1977, and former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, 2007, in an exclusive club to have done the awards double.

He said: “When you look at the list, there are some massive names on it, but I couldn’t have done it without the team. They have been fantastic this year and so has the manager.”

Bale’s stunning form sees him win the main award, voted for by his fellow professionals, for the second time in three seasons as he held off the challenge from five other nominees including Chelsea midfielders Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, who were included in the Team of the Year.

Bale’s Tottenham team-mate Jan Vertonghen was selected alongside Manchester United quartet David de Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie.

Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta and Everton’s Leighton Baines were named, while Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, currently serving a 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, concluded the line-up.