Kevin De Bruyne has been named the 2020 Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year with Chelsea’s Bethany England taking the women’s award.
The midfielder beat Liverpool’s title-winning quarter of Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to become Manchester City’s first recipient of the award.
Alexander-Arnold did however pick up the award for the PFA Young Player of the Year, beating England youngsters Tammy Abraham, Mason Greenwood, Mason Mount, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka to the prize.
City trailed the Reds by an eventual 18 points in the 2019/20 Premier League campaign but De Bruyne, who registered 13 goals and a record-equalling 20 assists, was voted the campaign’s top performer by his peers and was quick to thank his manager for handing him full creative licence.
“Most of the time he just lets me be me,” the 29-year-old said of Guardiola. “We speak often about the team but in a lot of senses he knows when he gives the orders of what the team has to do that I will listen.null
“But then on the other side he gives me a lot of freedom; I don’t know why, that’s just the way it goes between us.
“He knows in one way I will always put the team first and then obviously if I can help myself I’m going to do that.
“But he knows that I want the team to win, and if the team wins I will gain from it. So I think in that sense he feels fine and he trusts me completely.”
Alexander-Arnold played a part in 12 clean sheets in Liverpool’s league triumph, and also laid on 13 assists and four goals, continuing to develop his already deadly all-court game.
The 21-year-old warned Liverpool’s rivals that German boss Klopp’s side were nowhere near satisfied with their successes to date.
“That first taste of success and being able to lift trophies, you never get over that, and the disappointments that come along the way too feed that hunger as well,” said Alexander-Arnold.
“So it’s probably a perfect blend of wanting to feel the success and not wanting to feel that disappointment that we’ve felt in the past.
“And I think as a team and individually the mentality is to keep going and to keep striving forward, because we’re not done yet.”