21 year-old forward Adel Taarabt has been making a name for himself with Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers this season, scoring fifteen goals in 37 games this season. The hugely talented - but hugely frustrating - Morrocan has now been rewarded for a fine campaign by being named Football League Player of The Year. The award is the culmination of a bizarre odyssey taken by Taarabt, who was named the 'new Zinedine Zidane' as a 17 year old before struggling to acclimate to English football and eventually being dumped by Tottenham Hotspur.
Queens Park Rangers picked up the youngster but for a long time couldn't really figure out what to do with him. Taarabt is clearly a brilliant player on the attack, capable of things very few other Championsip-level players would even dream of doing, he's a defensive liability, prone to petulance and trying to do too much on his own. That he refuses to track back to do heavy lifting on defence has galled many of his previous managers, but Neil Warnock has accepted Taarabt's negative attributes and instead let the Morrocan play the way he wants to - and he's been paid back in a big way:
When you have got someone like Adel then as a manager you are tempted to focus on what he cannot do, whereas I have focused on what he can do. It has been a great challenge but I think we are both seeing the benefits of it, of having a little bit of perseverance and showing confidence in him.
Other award-winners today include Ipswich striker Conor Wickham as Football League Young Player of the Year, while Craig Mackail-Smith and Ryan Lowe won Player of the Year honours for League One and League Two respectively.