Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney collected the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award on Thursday night.
The 24-year-old topped the poll of journalists with just over 81% of a record number of votes cast, finishing ahead of Chelsea forward Didier Drogba and Manchester City's Carlos Tevez to win the prestigious accolade, which has been running since 1948.
"It is a privilege to be given this award by the Football Writers' Association," said Rooney, who scored 34 goals in all competitions this term. "I am very proud. If you look at the list of previous winners, they are all great players and for me to be part of that now is a great feeling."
Rooney has been struggling with a groin problem since United's Champions League quarter-final first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich on March 30.
But now he is focused on recovering full fitness and he is relishing leading England's World Cup campaign in South Africa as Fabio Capello's squad aim to emulate the 1966 success.
England line-up in Group C in South Africa alongside Algeria and Slovenia and begin their campaign against the United States in Rustenburg on June 12.
Rooney, who is regarded as integral to England's hopes this summer, added: "There's a week's break now before we meet up with England and I am looking forward to the biggest tournament in the world and I cannot wait for that first game.
"The expectation is for other people to talk about and think about.
"For me I am just looking to get myself right to get to the World Cup and do my best and with a bit of luck, hopefully we can be successful."