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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Players honour Bellamy
Craig Bellamy celebrates a goal for Newcastle
Bellamy has been pivotal for Newcastle
Craig Bellamy has been named as the Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year.

The Wales and Newcastle striker beat off competition from Bolton's Michael Ricketts and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.

Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy was voted the PFA's Player's Player of the Year, but Bellamy warned the prolific Dutchman to expect a challenge for next year's honour.

"I've just spoken to Ruud van Nistelrooy and I said to him my aim is to win the main award," he said.

"It's unbelievable to win the young player and when I look down the list of past winners it's amazing, but my aim is to get to the next level."

We have some good young players and will get better as a team
Bellamy on Newcastle
Bellamy, who has been sidelined with a knee injury for two months, has also set his sights on a place in next season's Champions League.

Newcastle are locked in a battle with Chelsea and Leeds for the final Champions League place and Bellamy believes qualification would be enough to keep the Tynesiders at the top level for the near future.

"Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United are that little bit stronger and if we are going to get anywhere we need Champions League football next year because then we can build and build," he said.

Ruud van Nistelrooy
Van Nistelrooy has scored 33 goals in all competitions
"We can sign new players and if we get into the Champions League I think we'll be there for a couple of years because we can sign players and get stronger.

"We have some good young players and will get better as a team."

Van Nistelrooy received the award from Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, the PFA's guest of honour, at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on Sunday.

He came out ahead of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, David Beckham and Roy Keane after PFA members voted for their top player this season.

Henry came second while Arsenal team-mate Pires was third.

Is Ruud van Nistelrooy the right choice?



12357 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Who are the best players of 2001/02?

Writers' accolade

PFA prizes


See also:

29 Apr 01 |  Football
Sheringham wins second award
20 Apr 01 |  Eng Prem
PFA's six of the best
15 Apr 02 |  FA Cup
Ranieri spurs on Chelsea
14 Apr 02 |  FA Cup
Wenger praises Arsenal spirit
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