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Parker given England accolade
Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker has been voted Vauxhall England Player of the Year.
The award, voted for by England fans, follows a year when Parker finally gatecrashed the national side, featuring in seven of their nine games, during which time he has suddenly become one of the most important components.
Indeed, behind Steven Gerrard, the 31-year-old - who was sent off in Sunday's north London derby defeat at Arsenal - is currently second favourite to succeed John Terry as Three Lions skipper.
Parker succeeds Ashley Cole in winning the award and confirmed how proud he felt at the accolade. Parker said: "It's a great honour.
"Just looking at the names that are on the trophy it's quite an achievement. It's a proud moment for me, I'm delighted. When you feel the fans are appreciating what you've done, it's extra special. It's been a good year for me at international level so I'm delighted the fans have picked me."
Parker took 17 per cent of the 15,000 votes cast, with Joe Hart second and Ashley Young third, the FA confirmed on their website. Ignored for so long, Parker suffered the ignominy of being axed from Fabio Capello's provisional World Cup squad without playing in either of the two warm-up games against Mexico and Japan.
So, when he was introduced as a half-time substitute in the friendly against Denmark just over 12 months ago, he realised it was probably his last chance. His impact was so great he started the vital Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Wales a month later, since when he has never looked back.
"I don't think I ever lost hope that I could make it at international level," he said. I crammed in a lot in one year. I realised time was ticking.The Denmark game was pivotal.
"I came on for 45 minutes and then I got a start[ing place] against Wales in a big game [and that] was massive for me. I played in [midfield] with Jack [Wilshere] and Frank [Lampard] and we got a great result. It ended up being a great game [for me]. From there I played a lot more games. It was a very exciting year for me internationally and I'm looking forward to more action.
"It's a proud moment every time I pull on the England shirt. It's something I've always wanted to do, whenever I was playing outside, whenever I was playing at the park with my mates it was always England you try to emulate and try to be."