Yet another award success for City star Pukki

PUBLISHED: 12:10 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 05 June 2019

Teemu Pukki has enjoyed the best season of his life, helping Norwich City to win the Championship title  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Teemu Pukki has enjoyed the best season of his life, helping Norwich City to win the Championship title Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

The superb season of Norwich City star Teemu Pukki has been recognised in Finland by being named men's Player of the Year by the national football association.

The striker's dream debut season saw him score 30 goals, 29 of them in the Championship to lead the Canaries to the title and the Premier League.

He became the first player to score 25 league goals in a season for the club since Chris Sutton in 1993-94 and wrote his name into the history books, with just one player having managed more than 29 in the club's history, Ralph Hunt with 31 in Division Three South in 1955-56.

He also played a key role in Finland winning their Uefa Nations League group, to ensure a Euro 2020 qualification play-off place, scoring a total of 33 goals in 54 games for club and country in all competitions during 2018-19.

Norwich City report card: Teemu Pukki. GOAT

Pukki follows in the footsteps of Finnish legend Jari Litmanen, with the former Ajax and Barcelona forward winning the award nine times between 1990 and 2000, while former Liverpool defender Sammi Hypia also won the award nine times, between 1999 and 2010.

Former Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and ex-Southampton and Fulham keeper Anti Niemi are also former winners, with Bayer Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky winning it for the last three years on the spin.

It's Pukki who has claimed the 2019 award though, with only three players having scored more than his 15 goals for Finland now, from 71 caps so far.

MORE: Pukki tops the lot again - but only 3 Norwich City players make EFL fans' top 51 list

Former Charlton and Rangers striker Jonatan Johansson, who had a loan spell at Norwich, scored 18 for the Finns, Litmanen racked up 25 and former Chelsea striker Mikael Forssell holds the record with 28.

"The season went pretty much beyond expectations," Pukki told the Finland Football Association's website. "I knew it could go well, but the last year has gone better than I could have imagined."

He also joked that he was pleased to take the award from his friend and national team-mate Hradecky.

"It's a big honour," he added. "Pretty big names have won this before and finally someone other than a goalie got it for the first time in a while!

"I am very happy that I got Lukas (Hradecky) out of the number one spot, it is mine for this year at least."

The 29-year-old was nominated for a host of awards throughout the season and was then named Championship Player of the Season and included in the Championship Team of the Season at the EFL Awards, before going on to seal the golden boot with his 29 goals.

Pukki was also voted the PFA Fans' Championship Player of the Season in a public vote and Norwich fans voted him player of the season to lift the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy, while the City players named him Players' Player of the Season.

He attended the annual awards on Tuesday evening ahead of Saturday's home clash with Bosnia & Herzegovina in Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday (5pm UK time), with Norwich team-mate Mario Vrancic in the opposition squad.

A trip to Liechtenstein follows on Tuesday (7.45pm) before Pukki can get some more rest in ahead of returning to Colney at the start of July as City begin pre-season.

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