Arsenal star Bukayo Saka denies Erling Haaland major PFA Awards double

Bukayo Saka has denied Erling Haaland a prestigious double at the PFA Player of the Year awards.

The England winger scooped Young Player of the Year honours at a glitzy ceremony held at the Lowry Theatre in Manchester on Tuesday night, recognition for a superb 2022/23 campaign in which he led Arsenal’s surprise Premier League title charge.

Saka scored 15 goals and registered 11 assists across all competitions as Mikel Arteta’s side ran dominant Manchester City mighty close in a captivating title tussle before eventually falling away, earning a bumper long-term contract extension over the summer that saw him become the highest-paid player at the Emirates Stadium.

Saka beat Haaland, Gunners team-mate Gabriel Martinelli, new Chelsea signing Moises Caicedo, Brighton’s Evan Ferguson and Aston Villa’s Jacob Ramsey to Young Player of the Year honours, though Haaland did take the main prize as expected.

The Norwegian goal machine enjoyed a staggering first season in English football last term after his £51million summer transfer from Borussia Dortmund, shattering numerous scoring records after notching an incredible 52 times in 53 appearances across all competitions as Pep Guardiola’s irresistible City team clinched the Treble.

Saka, Arsenal colleague Martin Odegaard, Harry Kane and City duo Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones had also been nominated for PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

In the women’s awards, Chelsea’s Lauren James won Young Player of the Year honours, ahead of fellow Lionesses World Cup finalist Lauren Hemp, Laura Blindkilde, Maya Le Tissier, Katie Robinson and Missy Bo Kearns.

Another of England’s World Cup heroes, Rachel Daly, was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year after a tremendous 2022/23 season in which she finished as the top scorer in the WSL after notching 22 goals for Aston Villa.

Former Middlesbrough striker Chuba Akpom, Ipswich’s Conor Chaplin and Andy Cook of Bradford picked up the respective men’s EFL awards, with the PFA Premier League Team of the Year unsurprisingly dominated by City’s Treble-winning stars.

Ruben Dias, Stones, Rodri, De Bruyne and Haaland all made the cut, with Arsenal having four representatives themselves in Aaron Ramsdale, William Saliba, Odegaard and Saka. The only non City or Arsenal players included in the XI were former Tottenham talisman Harry Kane and Newcastle full-back Kieran Trippier.