Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has been named the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.

The midfielder, who lifted the Reds' first title for 30 years on Wednesday, was the outright winner ahead of Kevin De Bruyne.

He has skippered Liverpool to their first Premier League crown this season with Jurgen Klopp's side 18 points ahead of Manchester City before Sunday's final game at Newcastle.

Henderson also spearheaded the #playerstogether initiative during the coronavirus lockdown which saw players team up with NHS Charities Together to raise money for the UK's National Health Service (NHS).

He said: "I'd like to say how appreciative I am of the support of those who voted for me and the Football Writers' Association in general.

"You only have to look at the past winners of it, a number of whom I've been blessed to play with here at Liverpool, like Stevie (Steven Gerrard), Luis (Suarez) and Mo (Mohamed Salah) to know how prestigious it is.

"But as grateful as I am I don't feel like I can accept this on my own. I don't feel like anything I've achieved this season or in fact during my whole career has been done on my own.

"I owe a lot to so many different people - but none more so than my current team-mates - who have just been incredible and deserve this every bit as much as I do.

"We've only achieved what we've achieved because every single member of our squad has been brilliant and not just in matches. Not just in producing the moments that make the headlines and the back pages but every day in training.

"The players who've started the most games for us this season have been as good as they have been because of our culture and our environment at Melwood. No one individual is responsible for that - it's a collective effort and that's how I view accepting this honour.

"I accept it on behalf of this whole squad, because without them I'm not in a position to be receiving this honour. These lads have made me a better player - a better leader and a better person.

"If anything I hope those who voted for me did so partly to recognise the entire team's contribution.

"Individual awards are nice and they are special and I will cherish this one. But an individual award without the collective achievement wouldn't mean anywhere as much to me - if anything at all."

As well as the top five of Henderson, De Bruyne, Marcus Rashford, Virgil Van Dijk and Sadio Mane, 10 other players received votes from FWA members.

Roy Keane was the last Irish winner in 2000

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson Becker, Raheem Sterling, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Sergio Aguero, Adama Traore, Danny Ings, Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Jonny Evans were all nominated.

Pep Guardiola insists there was no need to state De Bruyne's case after the brilliant Belgian missed out. 

City manager Guardiola said: "I think he (De Bruyne) speaks for himself with what he gives us to our team and the Premier League. It is not necessary to say what a fantastic player he is.

"At the same time congratulations to the captain of Liverpool for the award. He is a really good player."

De Bruyne has notched 19 assists in the Premier League this season, one short of the competition's record set by Arsenal's Thierry Henry in 2002-03.

Guardiola said: "He enjoys making assists. I would love for Kevin to score goals but he enjoys making assists too."

Speaking to the BBC earlier in the week, Guardiola had said the Player of the Year award is "always for Liverpool".

Raheem Sterling was FWA Player of the Year in 2019 after City pipped Liverpool to the title but Virgil van Dijk won the PFA award.

"It will be won by a Liverpool player," said the Manchester City. "When we won the Premier Leagues it was won by a Liverpool player.

"When they win the Premier League I'm pretty sure they are going to win the player of the season, so this award is always for Liverpool."

FWA chair Carrie Brown said: "Leadership is intangible and often unquantifiable unless it is inarguable. Jordan Henderson is both the ultimate professional and now a bona fide Liverpool legend.

"Jordan is a player his team-mates look to on the pitch and who his rivals look up to off it.

"The voting criteria for the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year is one who leads by precept and example and in this country's darkest moment, Jordan, unprompted, personally rallied club captains to establish #PlayersTogether.

"He is a truly worthy winner of our award."

The Footballer of the Year trophy has been awarded since 1948 when Sir Stanley Matthews was its first recipient.

There have been five different winners from the island of Ireland, starting with Johnny Carey in 1949 and running up to the last Irish winner, Roy Keane, in 2000. Other Irish recipients include Pat Jennings, George Best, and Danny Blanchflower twice.

Subscribe to WatchLOI to stream 55 Airtricity League matches and selected FAI Cup games this season.