Linfield's Shayne Lavery has won both the Dream Spanish Homes Young Player of the Year and the Danske Bank Player of the Year titles at the NI Football Awards.
By winning the historic double, Lavery follows in the footsteps of Paul Byrne in 1993, Stuart Dallas in 2011 and Gavin Whyte in 2018.
A delighted Lavery said: “It’s a great honour for me to be listed alongside those names. I’d like to thank the Football Writers’, NIFL and their sponsors for these awards.
“I think my good form can be attributed to a combination of things. I’ve worked hard in the gym, I’ve improved my diet and I’ve gained a lot of experience on the pitch thanks to the faith David Healy has put in me.
“It’s a joy to play in this Linfield team, as the boys create a lot of chances for the strikers. In many ways, putting the ball in the net is the easy part.
“It’s a pleasure to play with lads like Andy Waterworth, Jamie Mulgrew and Jimmy Callacher. Those guys drive you on to win matches and trophies. Although I’ve won these individual awards, it wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates. It’s been a fantastic season thanks to them.”
It's been a stellar season for the 22-year-old, who won three international caps during this season and is in Ian Baraclough’s squad for Thursday’s game with Ukraine.
Lavery’s manager David Healy added: “The Irish League offers lads who are released by clubs in England or Scotland the opportunity to rebuild their careers. Shayne has proved that if you work hard and look after yourself, this league can be a springboard for young players. There’s no limit to what he can achieve.”
This year’s NI Football Awards were voted for by the members of the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association and the Danske Bank Premiership managers