Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka has spoke for the first time since being crowned the North East Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year for 2018.
The 29-year-old has been an ever-consistent performer since joining the Magpies from Sparta Prague in January last year, initially on loan,
But after playing a huge part in Rafa Benitez's side successful battle against relegation last season, Newcastle snapped up Dubravka for just £4.5million in the summer.
Since making his debut in a 1-0 win against Manchester United at St James's Park in February, Dubravka has featured in each of the club's Premier League fixtures since then.
And because of that, Dubravka was the unanimous choice of the region’s football writers as their player of the year from the last 12 months in the 39th NEFWA annual award.
Dubravka will be seventh goalkeeper to have lifted the award - joining former Magpie Shay Given among the winners.
"I'm really surprised and honoured to win the award. It means a great deal to me but it would not be possible without my team-mates," said Dubravka.
"I actually went to last year's award ceremony with some of the guys to congratulate Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie and it was a great night, so I will be very proud to receive the trophy myself.
"Thank you to all of the journalists and writers who voted for me. It was an excellent year and I hope 2019 will be even better for me and for my team."
Middlesbrough keeper Darren Randolph came second while Paul Dummett and Aiden McGeady ranked joint-third.
Meanwhile, Sunderland striker Josh Maja triumphed to the Young Player of the Year award and Durham Women midfielder Beth Hepple was voted Ladies Player of the Year.
The North East Football Writers’ Association annual awards dinner, sponsored by William Hill, will be held at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf Club and Spa in Durham on Sunday February 17.
Once again this year funds raised on the night will go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s North East Personality of the Year will be also presented on the night along with a number of presentations to recognise the region’s football successes
Tickets are available from Claire Stephen at the Ramside 0191 375 3080. email@example.com