Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs paid tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson after being named Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year on Sunday night.
Giggs, 35, had picked up the young player's award twice before and has now been awarded the top accolade by his fellow professionals following his exemplary season, which looks likely to end with his 11th Premier League title. Ferguson has been credited with nurturing Giggs and the Welshman was quick to thank his boss.
"The manager has been massive in my career from when I first met him when I was 13," Giggs said. "That's over 20 years and he knows me better than anyone and our relationship has been brilliant and just gets better."
He added: "I've been so fortunate to have such a great career in so many great teams, it's not even worth thinking about what it would have been like without the manager."
Aston Villa winger Ashley Young picked up the Young Player of the Year award and believes it is a sign of the progress his club have made this season.
"It's a massive achievement for the club and my team-mates around me," Young said. "It's a great honour and I'm delighted."
John McDermott, the former Grimsby player who spent 20 years at the club, was given the Merit award for his services to the game.
"I thought it was one of the lads winding me up, a real shock," he said. "To still be recognised, I was flattered and honoured."
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