Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy has been voted the 2016 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association (FWA), it was announced on Monday.
The 29-year-old striker took the award as a clear winner ahead of teammates Riyad Mahrez, who had already taken the Player of the Year award voted on by his fellow professionals, and N’Golo Kante.
Vardy has scored 24 goals for club and country so far this season as the Foxes close in on what would be a remarkable Premier League title triumph.
They will be crowned champions should closest rivals Tottenham Hotspur fail to beat Chelsea on Monday.
In total, seven Leicester players received votes in the FWA poll, with Danny Drinkwater, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, captain Wes Morgan and Danny Simpson also receiving votes.
Vardy will be honoured with the prestigious FWA accolade, which has been running since 1948, at a gala dinner in London on May 12.
FWA chairman Andy Dunn, of the Sunday Mirror, said: “It is testament to their all-round excellence that so many Leicester players polled votes from our members. The Jamie Vardy story, though, clearly captured the imagination of so many writers.
“His record-breaking feat of scoring in 11 consecutive matches is the jewel in what will surely be Leicester’s Premier League crown.
“And the Footballer of the Year award is not just a reflection of his fantastic season, but recognition of a remarkable journey from non-league to the international stage.”
Other players to receive votes from FWA members were Tottenham striker Harry Kane, West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet, Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne as well as Spurs midfielder Dele Alli.
Vardy said, “It’s a great honour to win such a prestigious award and to have my name added to a list of previous winners that includes some unbelievable players.”
The England striker added, “We’re all totally focused on getting over the line in the final two weeks of the season and turning a great season into one we’ll never forget.
“Hopefully I can contribute to that and, if selected, carry some good form into the Euros (European Championships) this summer.”