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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 October 2005, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
Gabbidon voted top Welsh player
Player of the Year Danny Gabbidon (centre) with James Collins and Sam Ricketts
Danny Gabbidon (centre) has been Wales' most consistent performer
Danny Gabbidon's impressive displays for his country have won him the 2005 Welsh Footballer of the Year award.

James Collins, who moved with Gabbidon from Cardiff to West Ham this summer, was voted the young player of the year.

The Welsh club player of the year is Sam Ricketts, who was helped Swansea win promotion to League One last season and made his Wales debut.

Len Allchurch, 72, was also recognised at the annual awards ceremony in Swansea's New Stadium on Monday night.

Allchurch, brother of the late Ivor, won 11 caps for Wales between 1955 and 1964, and played his club football at Swansea, Sheffield United and Stockport.

Former north Wales referee John Lloyd also picked up a merit award.

Gabbidon has hardly put a foot wrong for Wales since making his debut three years ago, and has been outstanding in recent games despite Wales' poor run of results.

But the 26-year-old from Cwmbran was as modest as ever after receiving the award saying: "It's something I wasn't expecting.

"Some great names have won this in the past and to have my name alongside them is a great honour. I'm delighted."

Collins, 22, picked up the young player award for the second successive year.

His partnership with Gabbidon for club and country convinced West Ham manager Alan Pardew to spend 3.5m to bring the centre-backs to Upton Park this summer.

Injuries have dictated that Collins has manged just one Carling Cup appearance so far, but Gabbidon has adapted quickly to life in England's top division.

"The Premiership has been tough, but I have been pleased with the way it has gone but I know I can do better and I am looking to improve as the season continues," Gabbidon added.

Ricketts has exceeded all expectations since joining Swansea from non-league Telford United just 18 months ago.

He has played in all of Wales' matches under new manager John Toshack and has helped Swansea to the top of League One this season.

"I've come a long in the last year or two and I want to keep improving," said the 23-year-old defender.

"Hopefully we can also get Swansea into the Championship. That's what we're aiming to do and at the minute we're doing OK."




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