Van Persie wins PFA award
London - Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was named the Player of the Year by England's Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) at a ceremony on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Dutch international has scored 27 Premier League goals so far this season - his best return for the north London club - and was proud to be honoured by a poll of top-flight players.
"If other people are saying it, it is special, but it is even more special if your opponents are saying it," he said.
"It is very special because you are playing against them week in week out and every single player does everything to win and in the end if they make up their minds that I'm the best player it is a big honour."
Van Persie added none of his success would be possible but for the contribution of his fellow Gunners.
"Without them I could not have achieved it," he said. "For example Theo Walcott, he has given me more than 12 assists and I do really appreciate that."
Van Persie was originally deployed as a second striker by Arsenal after signing from Feyenoord in 2004 in a role made famous by fellow Dutch forward Dennis Bergkamp during his time with the club.
But despite his own initial doubts, van Persie has relished the role of leading Arsenal's attack since being switched to the centre forward position by manager Arsene Wenger.
"Now I am (confident). To be fair, when I first went there I wasn't really as confident and I wasn't really sure I could do it. It took a bit of time but after a couple of months a slowly realised I could do a good job there."
Tottenham Hotspur and England full-back Kyle Walker won The PFA Young Player of the Year award and the 21-year-old couldn't quite believe he was receiving the honour.
"I was a bit surprised because defenders don't normally get these awards and get the limelight as much as the centre-forwards," he said.
"If you look at the people I was in with then it is a great honour to get the award and hopefully there is more to come.
Both Walker and van Persie were included in the PFA's Premier League Team of the Year, which featured four players from title-chasing Manchester City.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart, defender Vincent Kompany and midfielders Yaya Toure and David Silva all featured in a side where Wayne Rooney was the only representative from champions Manchester United.
Tottenham had three men in the team, with Scott Parker and Wales winger Gareth Bale, last year's PFA Player of the Year, joining Walker in a side without any players from Chelsea, the only English club to reach the semi-finals of this season's Champions League.
PFA Premier League Team of the Year (player, club, nationality)
Joe Hart (Man City/ENG); Kyle Walker (Tottenham/ENG), Vincent Kompany (Man City/BEL), Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle/ARG), Leighton Baines (Everton/ENG); David Silva (Man City/ESP), Yaya Toure (Man City/CIV), Gareth Bale (Tottenham/WAL), Scott Parker (Tottenham/ENG); Robin van Persie (Arsenal/NED), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd/ENG)