Sunderland's Jermain Defoe is North-East Football Writers' Player of the Year

Jermain Defoe has been named as the North-East Football Writers Player of the Year.

Tuesday, 20th December 2016, 2:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:13 pm
Jermain Defoe: The North-East Football Writers Player of the Year

The star striker led the way in a Sunderland double, with Jordan PIckford the recipient of the FWA Young Player of the Year.

Completing the Wearside flavour, England skipper Steph Houghton, from South Hetton, was the Women's Player of the Year, as voted by the region's football writers.

Defoe's award completes a dream 2016 for the 34-year-old, who is the leading Premier League goal scorer this year.

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The ex-England striker said: “I feel very much at home in the North East, so to win this award is a real honour.

“I would like to thank the North East Football Writers for voting for me and the Sunderland fans for their amazing support."

Defoe becomes the 37th winner of the North East writers’ award, and follows former Sunderland strikers Darren Bent, Kevin Phillips, Niall Quinn and Marco Gabbiadini.

He was the unanimous winner, beating Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, who was second, followed by Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles in third.

Defoe has bagged 19 goals in the calendar year, keeping Sunderland in the Premier League last season, and with a hope of avoiding the drop again this season.

He has also hit the landmarks of 150 Premier League goals and 250 goals in English football in recent weeks.

Pickford, who started the year with an impressive loan spell at Preston North End, was recalled by Sam Allardyce at the end of last season and made his debut at Spurs.

The England Under 21 international has established himself as number one under David Moyes with a string of impressive performances this season.

Pickford said: “To play for the club you support is every player's dream and I am living mine every day.

“I would like to say thank you to the Sunderland Academy staff who started me on my journey, to the backroom staff and everyone at the club who has helped me in my career so far and to my family.”

The two players will be presented with their awards at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham on Sunday, February 12.

Other presentations on the night will include Houghton, promoted Middlesbrough, Darlington and Spennymoor and FA Vase winners Morpeth Town.

The night, which raises funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, will also feature a tribute to former chairman, Mail on Sunday writer Bob Cass who died recently after a battle against cancer.