Lucas Digne has been named Everton Player of the Season at the Toffees’ end of season awards - The Dixies.
The French full-back also shares the Players’ Player of the season award with Idrissa Gueye, the first time the award has been shared.
Digne has enjoyed a superb debut season at Goodison Park since joining from Barcelona last summer.
The French international had the unenviable task of succeeding Leighton Baines at left-back but hasn’t looked back since breaking into the side in late August.
He made 33 Premier League appearances in all, scoring four goals, helping the defence keep 14 clean sheets and putting in 280 crosses - more than any other player in the Premier League this season.
The fact we haven’t missed someone of Baines’ quality is testament to the impact Digne has made in such a short time.
Speaking to the club’s website, Digne said:
“It is a big pleasure that the fans chose me for this award. I am so happy to win this trophy in my first season in the Premier League. We are building something and I am very happy to be part of this team.
“I have a very good feeling with the Evertonians, they welcomed me the best way I could imagine and it is amazing to play in front of them at Goodison Park.”
Gueye has also enjoyed a fine season in royal blue, particularly during the second half of the campaign after a January window rife with transfer speculation.
The Senegal midfielder wanted a move to PSG and reportedly handed in a transfer request, but the Toffees turned it down and insisted he was not for sale. It is credit to his professionalism that Gueye kept his head down and, if anything, improved during the season run-in.
Richarlison was named Young Player of the season after scoring 13 league goals in his debut season on Merseyside after his ‘transfer window ruining” £40million move from Watford last summer.
Gylfi Sigurdsson won Goal of the Season for his strike against Leicester in October, beating Digne’s volley against Manchester United and Andre Gomes’ goal against Wolves.
Nathan Broadhead was named Everton U23 Player of the Season after yet another successful campaign for the young Toffees that saw them win the league and cup double.
U23 coach David Unsworth became the latest Everton Giant, acknowledging his contribution both as a player, caretaker manager and U23 manager.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said of Unsworth:
“I know few Evertonians more deserving of the title Everton Giant.
“There has been legend after legend at this club and Unsie has every right to join them, as a player and a coach.
“To win the league twice in three seasons is extraordinary, especially when so many of his players have been taken away for first-team duty.
“The Everton blueblood in your veins takes you to another place – but he has talent, too.”
Michael Keane was the recipient of the Chairman’s Blueblood award, presented to someone Kenwright believes “embodies the Everton spirit”.
Keane endured a difficult first season at Goodison (he wasn’t alone to be fair) but has improved immensely this year and it is his determination to come through that tough spell which has led to him winning this award.
It has been a tough year for Everton Ladies too, but there were two victories over Liverpool to savour.
Northern Ireland striker Simone Magill scored in both of those games and was rewarded with being named Everton Ladies Player of the Season.
The People’s Club award went to Henry Mooney, who retires next month after 12 years as Everton’s Community Engagement Officer.
Everton’s Fan of the Year goes to 10-year-old Alfie, who helped to launch Alfie’s Squad ; a fundraising campaign to develop a children’s-focussed area in Everton’s proposed People’s Place mental health facility near Goodison Park.
Unlike in previous seasons there was no lavish awards ceremony this year, with the awards instead handed out at Finch Farm and a video released via the club website.
There has been some criticism in the past for holding such ceremonies when there was little to truly celebrate so the club opted for something a little more low key.
Let’s hope they really do have something to celebrate - ie a trophy - in 12 months’ time.