Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has been voted the North-East Football Writers' Association's Player of the Year for 2012.
The Belgium international narrowly beat Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa with Magpies keeper Tim Krul in third place, while Middlesbrough keeper Jason Steele picked up the Young Player of the Year Award.
Mignolet said: "It is always a good thing to win individual awards as a footballer. Of course you want to win medals and trophies, but any individual accolade is always nice and I am very pleased. It is very kind of the journalists to vote for me."
He added: "Obviously I know there is tough competition between the three teams, particularly between Sunderland and Newcastle, and there have been some very good players in the teams this year and some very good individual performances.
"There are a lot of big names on the trophy, including some top goalkeepers, and it is an honour for me. I could not be more pleased to be among them and picking it up at the age of 24."
The winners will receive their awards at the Association's annual dinner at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham on February 24.