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Schär and Longstaff to receive awards on Sunday evening

Written by Dan King

Fabian Schär and Sean Longstaff will collect awards at the 40th North East Football Writers' Association annual dinner this weekend.

Schär has won the association's player of the year award while Longstaff has won the the Young Player of the Year award. The event - originally scheduled for Sunday, February 2nd - will be held at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa, Durham, on Sunday evening.

Swiss defender Schär becomes the fourth Newcastle player in a row to win the annual award. Martin Dúbravka was last season's recipient while Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie were joint-winners in 2017. In total Newcastle players have won the award 19 times, with Sunderland on 11, Middlesbrough on nine and Hartlepool United's former Magpies forward Joe Allon taking the prestigious trophy home in 1991.

Speaking to nufc.co.uk, Schär said: "I'm very honoured to win this award in my first full year at Newcastle United. I know that some great players, like Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Juninho and Fabricio Coloccini have won it before and I am proud to follow in the footsteps of those players.

"I'd like to thank all of the writers and journalists who voted for me, and of course my team-mates, because without them awards like this would not be possible."

Longstaff was the unanimous choice for the young player award, which has previously been won by the likes of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Ayoze Pérez and Steven Taylor.

"Obviously 2019 was a good year for me - I got the chance to play for my boyhood club and to score my first goals which I will never forget," he told nufc.co.uk. "It was disrupted a little bit with the injury I got in March but hopefully there's a lot to build on and it's always nice to receive awards, so I'm grateful to everyone who voted for me.

"I'm not really one to look back - I prefer to look forward and the aim is to push on in 2020 - but I'm proud to have won the award and hopefully I can do even better over the next 12 months."

Durham Women FC defender Kathryn Hill has been named women's player of the year. The awards night will also feature the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation personality of the year award, which has previously been awarded to Alan Shearer, Jermaine Defoe, Niall Quinn and Robbie Elliott. This year's recipient will be Manchester City and England women captain Steph Houghton.

As well as recognising success in non-league football, the North East Football Writers' Association also present the Bob Cass Award and the John Fotheringham Awards, named after two renowned North East football writers, and recognising outstanding services to football in the region.

Tickets for the awards night are available from Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080 or claire.stephen@ramsidehallhotel.co.uk.

"I'm not really one to look back - I prefer to look forward and the aim is to push on in 2020 - but I'm proud to have won the award and hopefully I can do even better over the next 12 months."

Sean Longstaff

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