Rochdale defender Craig Dawson has been named the FourFourTwo League Two Player of the Year.
The announcement was made at the 2010 Football League Awards incorporating FourFourTwo’s Top 50 Football League Players at Grosvenor House, Park Lane on Sunday March 14 in front of more than 850 attendees from clubs, sponsors and representatives of the football industry.
The 19-year-old Spotland stopper is ranked 43rd in FourFourTwo’s Top 50 Football League Players list, making him the highest League Two representative ahead of Notts County striker Lee Hughes and Bournemouth goal-getter Brett Pitman.
The 6ft 2in Rochdale-born centre-back has enjoyed a stellar first season at the heart of Keith Hill’s defence since arriving from Unibond League outfit Radcliffe Borough.
After scoring 15 times in 75 league outings for Borough, Dawson departed – with the Player of the Year award in his pocket – for his local club, and has made the four division jump up to the Football League seem simple.
As well as netting 11 times in all competitions from defence, Dawson has also stopped the goals going in at the opposite end, with Dale currently nine points clear at the top of the table and on the brink of leaving the basement division for the first time since 1974.
“I’ve stepped up four divisions and the main difference is that players are much fitter and technically a lot better. But the coaching staff have put in a lot of work with me, giving me extra programmes to work on after training,” he says in the April issue of FourFourTwo magazine – in shops on Monday.
“I used to play midfield and scored quite a few goals, but when I joined Radcliffe I moved to centre-half and have stuck to that position. I’ve been surprised how many goals I have scored but the delivery into the box by our wide players has been brilliant all season.”
The full interview with Dawson, plus additional exclusive one-on-ones with Kevin Nolan, Graham Dorrans, Jermaine Beckford, Nathaniel Clyne, Lee Camp, Robbie Savage, Lee Hughes, Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert and the full rundown of the Top 50 Football League Players can be found in the April issue of FourFourTwo magazine – out Monday.