Bukayo Saka has been named England Men’s Player of the Year by England fans for two years in a row. The Arsenal winger is among a list of established names who have won the award more than once, with striker Wayne Rooney winning it four times.
The award first came into existence in 2003 when David Beckham was voted the winner. Since then eleven others have been awarded with the honour. Are these five England players the best from the last 20 years?
Wayne Rooney – Four time winnerEmbed from Getty Images
For years Wayne Rooney was the man England relied on for goals. Rooney won the award of player of the year in 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2015. In 2015, Rooney scored five goals in eight appearances, including a penalty against Switzerland which at the time made him the all time record goalscorer for England. Rooney’s goals in friendlies, qualifiers and tournaments made him a fans favourite, as he scooped up the award in back-to back years on two separate occasions.
Frank Lampard – Two time winnerEmbed from Getty Images
Frank Lampard took home the award in 2004 after an impressive set of performances at Euro 2004, scoring twice and playing almost every minute during the tournament. Lampard scored in the group stages against Croatia and against Portugal in the quarter-finals where England were knocked out on penalties.
In 2005, Lampard claimed back-to-back awards, after impressing during qualification for the 2006 World Cup, scoring five goals and assisting twice. Lampard played 90 minutes in all of England’s ten qualification games.
Steven Gerrard – two time winnerEmbed from Getty Images
Steven Gerrard has also won the award twice once in 2007, and again in 2012. In 2007 he only scored two goals, both coming against Andorra, but this was the year Gerrard was first named captain and played five games with the armband.
In 2012, although Gerrard didn’t score for England, he was the established captain under the management of Roy Hodgson. 2012 was also a significant year for Gerrard as he gained his 100th cap for England, an impressive achievement.
Harry Kane – Two time winnerEmbed from Getty Images
Harry Kane also won the award in consecutive years. In 2017, he was named captain for the first time in a World Cup qualifier against Scotland. Kane went on to grab a last-minute equaliser at Hampden Park, one of seven goals he scored in 2017 as England secured a place at the World Cup finals in Russia.
In the 2018 World Cup, Kane won the tournament’s golden boot with his six goals as England reached the semi-finals, and he won England’s player of the year award again. He scored two more that year including a crucial winner against Croatia which took England to the Nations League semi-finals.
Bukayo Saka – Two time winnerEmbed from Getty Images
Bukayo Saka only made his England debut in 2020, and he already has two player of the year awards to his name. His first award came in the 2021-22 season, scoring three goals in nine games after bouncing back from his penalty-miss as England lost the European Championship final to Italy on penalties in 2021.
Saka claimed the award again for his performances last season for England. He scored seven goals for England including his first hat-trick against North Macedonia in June. Can he use this as motivation going forward with the European Championship coming up next summer?