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Club News

Young Player of the Year: A History

10 May 2016

On Thursday night one of the Eagles' young guns will be selected as Development Player of the Year at the club's annual Awards Night.

There are a few names who will be hoping to walk away with the trophy, but the award in its previous guises has been won by some of Palace's most famous names, and others who never quite made the grade.

The first award was titled Young Player of the Year back in 1983 and its inaugural recipient was Gary Stebbing, who would go on to retain his crown the following season. The midfielder would play in the Eagles' first-team for five years, racking up over a century of appearances before moving onto Belgian side KV Oostende in 1989.

As the 1980s progressed, Richard Shaw and John Salako would both receive the award before David Stevens followed in their footsteps, but he would ultimately never play for the Eagles' first-team with competition for places fierce at the time.

Famous names to win the trophy in the 1990s were Dean Gordon and George Ndah who would go on to represent the club with acclaim, but after Brian Launders won the award in 1994 it was shelved for eight years.

Eventually reinstalled by Palace in 2002, Julian Gray joined the roll of honour before a host of players began to come through a thriving academy system. Wayne Routledge became the first man since his fellow winger Salako to pick up the award in successive seasons in 2003 and 2004, before Tom Soares and Ben Watson staked their claims to the accolade in the subsequent years.

Current England full-back Nathaniel Clyne also did the double between 2009 and 2010 before going on to win the Player of the Year in 2011, which was the year a certain Wilfried Zaha came out on top for the first of two successive years.

Two more members of today's Palace squad were named Young Player of the Year following that in Jonny Williams and Joel Ward, before the award was renamed Development Player of the Year last season with Sullay Kaikai the current holder.

Crystal Palace Young Player of the Year award winners
1983 Gary Stebbing
1984 Gary Stebbing
1985 David Lindsay
1986 Richard Shaw
1987 John Salako
1988 John Salako
1989 David Stevens
1990 Simon Osborn
1991 Dean Gordon
1992 Mark Hawthorne
1993 George Ndah
1994 Brian Launders
2002 Julian Gray
2003 Wayne Routledge
2004 Wayne Routledge
2005 Tom Soares
2006 Ben Watson
2007 Gary Borrowdale
2008 Sean Scannell
2009 Nathaniel Clyne
2010 Nathaniel Clyne
2011 Wilfried Zaha
2012 Wilfried Zaha
2013 Jonathan Williams
2014 Joel Ward
2015 Sullay Kaikai

Don't forget that tickets are still available for the event which takes place at the Odeon at Leicester Square on Thursday, starting at 7pm. To buy yours, please click here.

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