2009 will be looked back upon as one of success and preparation for England. The Three Lions carried on their fine work of 2008 under new manager Fabio Capello to wrap up qualification for the 2010 World Cup with two matches to spare, in the end finishing their campaign with nine wins out of ten.
England posted a record of seven wins and three defeats, alongside one draw, to round off a good 2009—one in which the main objective of World Cup qualification was achieved but also in which comprehensive friendly defeats to Spain and Brazil left the fans and media alike wondering about just how far the team still has to progress if 2010 is to be a successful year.
January now affords the England fans the chance to vote for their England Player of the Year for 2009 via the official FA website (www.thefa.com ).
Fabio Capello selected 32 players in all throughout the eleven England games in the year, all of whom are eligible for the fan-voted prize.
The award is now in its seventh year, having first been won by David Beckham in 2003 and most recently by Wayne Rooney for his efforts in 2008 .
The front-runners for the award are as follows:
The Chelsea left-back appeared in every one of England’s first nine games of the year before missing the final two through injury. Cole has transferred his impressive club form to the international stage and appears to have shaken off the boo boys in the crowd in the process with a year’s worth of solid showings.
Right-back Johnson appeared in all but one game for England last year, missing only the friendly defeat to Brazil in November through injury in a year in which he really nailed down his place in Fabio Capello’s starting XI. Excelled in creating three goals from full-back in the win over Andorra in June.
Like Johnson above the England captain missed only the Brazil friendly at the end of the year to deny him a 100 percent attendance record for the year. Terry’s moment of the year came back in April when he headed a late winner against Ukraine in front of a full house at Wembley to give England the win and three points with his sixth goal for his country.
Barry racked up another nine caps for his country, missing only two games, one of which was through suspension. His form in tandem with Frank Lampard in the middle of the pitch continues to keep his competition at bay and the Manchester City midfielder also struck his second goal for his country when he opened the scoring against Kazakhstan in Almaty back in June.
The Liverpool talisman notched twice in England’s impressive 5-1 victory over Croatia at Wembley in September. The midfielder also added four assists in his seven appearances in 2009 before he missed the last two games of the year with injury.
Another productive year for the free scoring midfielder who contributed six goals in his ten appearances for the year, three of which came from the penalty spot as he become only the 19th England player to reach twenty goals for his country. Scored twice in England’s thumping win over Croatia at Wembley.
2009 proved a breakthrough year for Jermain Defoe as he established his reputation at international level with five goals in six appearances. The Spurs’ hitman struck twice as a half-time substitute against minnows Andorra in June’s Wembley rout before really proving his worth with another double from the bench at the Amsterdam Arena to earn England a draw after they found themselves 2-0 to Holland.
A further goal against Slovenia from the bench showed exactly why Defoe is a hot favourite to be part of Capello’s 23-man squad for South Africa.
Rooney netted six times in his nine England appearances in 2009, taking his total to 25 goals as he currently sits twelfth on the all-time scorers list. Scored braces in home games against Slovakia and Andorra as well as netting the fifth in the rout of Croatia in September as he finished second top-scorer in the European qualifying section with nine goals.
Special mentions go to David Beckham for becoming England’s most capped outfield player when he won his 109th cap against Slovakia in March and also to Carlton Cole, Tom Huddlestone and James Milner who all made their England debuts in 2009.
Previous Nationwide England Players of the Year
2008 Wayne Rooney
2007 Steven Gerrard
2006 Owen Hargreaves
2005 Frank Lampard
2004 Frank Lampard
2003 David Beckham