Player, Players' Player & Goal of the Season
Leighton Baines added lustre to an already glittering campaign by claiming a glorious treble at Everton’s 6th Annual End of Season Awards.
The left back gained recognition from supporters and teammates alike as he was named the Club’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season, while also winning the Goal of the Season Award.
Hotly tipped for top honours the 26-year-old, an ever-present this term, was rewarded for a campaign built on endeavour, rich in consistency yet bejewelled with frequent flashes of individual brilliance.
Accepting his prizes in front of his teammates and a host of Everton luminaries in the glamorous surrounds of the BT Convention Centre on Liverpool’s Waterfront, a typically bashful Baines admitted he was taken aback.
"In a way it is almost embarrassing," he said. "If not then certainly humbling.
"I'm a bit speechless to be honest. It's mind-blowing to have been up on stage three times tonight. I don't know what else to say really.
"To win the Players' Player two years in a row shows I must be making a few friends. I have been at the Club for four years now and they are not just my teammates but my mates as well.
"This is a great honour and I can only say a big thank you to everyone - every player, each member of the coaching staff and, of course, every single fan."
If receiving the two top individual awards on offer wasn't enough, Baines completed a hat-trick when his stunning last-gasp free-kick against Chelsea in the FA Cup was voted the goal of the season, narrowly eclipsing Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's rasping effort against Wolves.
Of his special strike, Baines added: "I didn't really feel any pressure because it was like a free hit - I had nothing to lose. Afterwards, though, when everyone came running up to me, I felt like I was floating for a while."
In fact, Baines’ seven goals this term can’t be bettered by another defender in the Premier League, while his wonderfully dexterous left foot has provided a constant stream of goalscoring opportunities for his teammates.
His attacking flair and creative streak have manifested in 11 assists – a total only bettered by Luis Nani, Didier Drogba and Cesc Fabregas.
Yet in terms of supplying goals, no Premier League defender can get near the Everton man, while Barcelona’s Dani Alves (14 assists) is the only defender across Europe’s top leagues with a superior rate.
His classy displays have, of course, seen him regain favour with England coach Fabio Capello, with caps against Denmark and Ghana crowning a truly wonderful season for the Kirkby-born player.
The Player of the Seaon Award was sponsored by SE Investments.
The Players' Player of the Season Award was sponsored by Whitestone Solicitors.
The Goal of the Season Award was sponsored by Deloitte LLP.
For full coverage and plenty of reaction from tonight's awards. click here.