After winning the player of the year award in 2009, Liverpool's captain was chosen as the 2012 recipient of the award for the player that contributes most to English football.
Compared to what we were producing earlier in the season, it's basically been a Steven Gerrard love-in around here. Early season form was mediocre at best, and with continued playing time seemingly based on reputation rather than form, it was difficult to get behind Brendan Rodgers' decision to hand the Liverpool captain starts time and again.
The past month or so has seen a fairly drastic change in form, however, and as we talked about yesterday, he's finally started to shine on a more consistent basis, albeit in a slightly different role than the one in which we're used to seeing him. Seems like a long time ago now, but he was similarly effective for England at the Euros last summer, providing one of the few bright spots for the perennial disappointing also-rans as they bowed out of the competition to Italy on penalties in the quarterfinals.
So to read news that he's been awarded the FWA Tribute honor isn't a complete surprise given the parameters--it's an honor bestowed "to an individual that the committee feels has made an outstanding contribution to the national game." He certainly fits the bill, and with a history among active players that few can match in the country, it's well deserved. Maybe he's not the player he used to be, and the current season probably won't go down as one of his finest ever (at least so far).
But his contributions to both Liverpool and England have been extraordinary, and it's nice to see him earn yet another award to recognize all he's done. Congratulations to Steven Gerrard, and let's hope it's not the last accolade in what's already been a remarkable career.