Leicester’s Mahrez named Player of the Year

Riyad Mahrez was named the PFA’s Player of the Year at an awards ceremony in London for his efforts in firing Leicester City to the brink of a fairytale Premier League title win.

Algerian winger Mahrez picked up the award on the same day he fired the opener in the Foxes’ 4-0 win over Swansea City at the King Power Stadium – a result which leaves the club eight points ahead of Tottenham, albeit having played one match more.

The 25-year-old’s remarkable form is indicative of Leicester’s season.

Only a year ago the East Midlanders beat Burnley, with Mahrez an unused substitute, to climb out of the relegation zone.

The arrival of manager Claudio Ranieri in the summer has transformed both club and player – who cost Leicester around £500,000 from French second division side Le Havre two years ago and is now being linked with the likes of Barcelona.

And Mahrez paid tribute to Ranieri and his team-mates.

“All the credit is for them, seriously,” he said. “And my manager and the staff. Without them I wouldn’t receive this award and I wouldn’t score. It’s the team spirit. I want to dedicate it to them.

“I’m very grateful to receive this award, it’s a pleasure. It’s extra special because if the players vote for me it’s because they’ve seen I’ve been great this year so I’m happy.”

Earlier, Spurs prodigy Dele Alli was named Young Player of the Year after his remarkable rise for both club and country this season.

In his first campaign competing in the top flight, Alli has become a key player for the North Londoners, making 44 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals and assisting a further 11.

Such has been the 20-year-old’s ascent, the midfielder is expected to be a major part of England boss Roy Hodgson’s plans for Euro 2016.

Alli made his international debut against Estonia in October, before marking his first start for the Three Lions with a superb strike in a 2-0 victory over France.

The former MK Dons star also impressed to such an extent in the 3-2 win over Germany that there have been calls for Hodgson to drop captain Wayne Rooney in order to include Alli in his best role.