Manchester City's Sterling wins football writers' Footballer of the Year award

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has won the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year award.

England international Sterling, who earlier this month won the PFA Young Player of the Year award, has scored 17 Premier League goals to help City to the top of the Premier League and struck five times in the Champions League.

The 24-year-old saw off competition from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who was named PFA Player of the Year on Sunday.

In addition to his starring role for City, Sterling has been acclaimed for speaking out on social issues including racism.

Earlier this month, he was awarded The Integrity and Impact Award at the BT Sport Industry Awards for his fight against racism in football and calls for more action to be taken.

Sterling has said that more players need to speak out when they are victims of racism in order to eradicate it from the game.

He has signed a manifesto in which he said clubs should be given automatic nine-point deductions and ordered to play three games behind closed doors if their supporters displayed racist behaviour.

Sterling took 62 percent of the vote as more than 400 FWA members cast their ballots, finishing more than 100 votes ahead of Van Dijk, with City teammate Sergio Aguero in third place.

He is the first City player to win the award since 1969, when defender Tony Book shared it with Dave Mackay of Derby.

"Raheem Sterling is a player of style and a man of substance," FWA Chair Carrie Brown said.

"He is an exemplar of the talent and values our founding fathers sought to reward when they established the FWA in 1947.

"To have been voted the 2019 Footballer of the Year by our members, and with such an overwhelming majority, clearly acknowledges the contribution from a player over one season but also recognises the huge impact of Raheem's courage to challenge preconceptions and fight racism.

"Raheem didn't set out to be a leader, but he is setting examples in society and in the game which the world is following with interest."

City forward Nikita Parris won the Women's Footballer of the Year award, narrowly beating Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema. England captain Steph Houghton, also of City, was third.

The FWA will present the awards at a central London ceremony early next month.