Wayne Rooney named England Player of the Year

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Wayne Rooney has been named as Nationwide England Player of the Year for 2008 after a vote by fans.

The Manchester United striker topped the pool after scoring five times in eight of England's 10 matches in 2008 - with all of his goals coming in competitive fixtures.

Rooney is the first forward to win the award, which is voted for by thousands of England fans on the Football Association's official website, after he finished ahead of midfielder Gareth Barry and winger Theo Walcott in the voting.

Aston Villa captain Barry was the only outfield player to play in all 10 matches, maintaining a sequence of 19 consecutive games for his country, while Walcott burst onto the senior scene with his hat-trick in the 4-1 win in Croatia in September.

"I am absolutely delighted to win this award, especially as it has been voted for by the England fans," Rooney said.

"It's an amazing feeling, playing for your country. So to be voted player of the year is a great feeling and I'd like to thank all the fans who voted for me.

"Having said that, it would not have been possible without the help and support of my England team-mates, Fabio Capello and his coaching staff.

"Since the manager came in the routine has changed and the team has started playing a lot better football.

"The main aim was to get the wins in those qualifying games and we did that, and thankfully I was able to score some goals as well. So overall I think 2008 was a good year for England."

He added: "I want to win more trophies, earn more caps and score more goals.

"Of course it is every player's aim to win a trophy with England. It is something that hasn't happened in many decades now.

"If we could do that in the next few years I'm sure everyone - from the fans, the players and the staff involved - would be absolutely delighted."

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