Brighton & Hove Albion defender Shane Duffy, who won the Player of the Season accolade at last night’s Players’ Awards, believes he is improving with every game he plays for the Seagulls.
Duffy received 41% of the vote, ahead of Lewis Dunk and Davy Propper in second and third respectively, and the Irishman picked up his trophy at the Amex Stadium, ahead of Albion’s final two matches of the season.
The 27-year-old has been a rock at the back for Albion throughout their second campaign in the Premier League, also scoring five goals, and he was delighted to be recognised for his eye-catching performances.
He said, “I’m a little bit surprised if I’m honest — I just try to be consistent and I feel as though my game has improved a lot over the years. It’s a nice feeling, but the team is the most important thing.
“I was quite raw as a kid growing up, but the more games I play, I’m minimising the mistakes. I’ve got a long way to go in my career, but I feel as though I’m improving every week.”
Centre-back partner Dunk also took home a prize, after winning the Players’ Player award for a second season in a row, and Duffy spoke about his relationship with the England international.
“I know the game is changing a lot, but Dunky is a different sort of centre-half to me. He can bring the ball out and play, he’s an asset for us to set up attacks.
“That’s why we get on so well, I don’t try to compete with Dunky. I let him do his stuff and I do my stuff, and that’s why it works.
“As a centre-half you want to be tested, and Dunky was an absolute monster against Spurs. It’s a dying art [defending], but you’ve got to keep the ball out of your net and sometimes it’s not pretty.”
Victory for Crystal Palace over Cardiff City on Saturday would confirm Albion’s place in the Premier League next season, and although Duffy hopes the Eagles can pull off a result, he's desperate for the team to confirm it themselves at the Emirates Stadium instead.
“We’ll probably be travelling to Arsenal when they’re kicking off — we’ll be watching it on the bus but the manager will probably turn the screens off!
“Hopefully Palace do us a favour for once, but it’s in our hands and we’ve got control of it. We think we can go to Arsenal and get a result, and that’s the most important thing.
“We’d be proud to do it ourselves — we want to feel like we’ve earned the right to stay in this league.”