Ashley Young has been confirmed as PFA Young Player of the Year it has been revealed this evening. The Aston Villa forward, who has excelled on the left wing for Martin O'Neill's men this campaign, beat off competition from Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland, Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon, fellow Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor and Manchester United defenders Jonny Evans and Rafael to claim the award, and succeeds Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas as its recipient.
Young has scored six goals and contributed eight assists to Villa's season, with his delivery from set-pieces as well as from open play adding a cutting edge to the Birmingham outfit, and earning him a call-up to Fabio Capello's England squad.
Having started 32 league games and won three separate Young Player of the Month awards, the rapid rate of the 23-year-old's development since his £9.65 million move from Watford in January 2007 was perhaps best exemplified by the reports that linked him with a big money move to Spanish giants Real Madrid during the winter.
Villa's bid for a Champions League spot has ultimately ended in failure, it seems, but it is fitting that such a vibrant young talent, a man who helped epitomise their verve in looking to upset the established order, has taken home a tangible prize to the club.
"It's a massive achievement for the club and my team-mates around me," Young told The Guardian. "It's a great honour and I'm delighted."
Zack Wilson, Goal.com