With voting open for the Player of the Year award we recall David Beckham's 2003 success
Three Lions legend David Beckham
was the first star to win the England Player of the Year award
after some outstanding performances for his country in 2003.
He was clearly the fans' favourite during their successful Euro 2004 qualification campaign taking 38% of their votes here on TheFA.com.
England began and ended 2003 with home defeats in friendlies with Australia (1-3) and Denmark (2-3). But sandwiched between was a nine-game unbeaten run, including a new post-war record of eight straight wins, as Sven-Goran Eriksson's team secured their place in Portugal.
Beckham featured, and captained, the Three Lions in nine of those matches as he took his caps tally to 65. The Real Madrid midfielder, who had moved from Manchester United in July, also netted four times, including three penalties.
However, it was a night in Istanbul and a missed spot kick that most England fans, and no doubt Beckham himself, will remember from 2003.
Having already netted from 12 yards against Turkey in a 2-0 win at Sunderland's Stadium of Light in the April, England travelled to the Turkish capital needing a draw to reach the Euro 2004 Finals.
But after Steven Gerrard had been fouled in the box, Beckham slipped as he struck his 35th-minute penalty, and the ball flew high over the bar.
Nonetheless, Beckham helped the Three Lions hold on to a earn a 0-0 draw and with it their passage to Portugal.
The 28-year-old's performances certainly met with the fans' approval as he beat Everton’s boy-wonder Wayne Rooney in to second place after the youngster had burst on to the England scene at the start of the year.
In fact, the fans’ top five choices revealed the strength in depth that Eriksson was able to call upon, with new faces such as Rooney (2nd), Frank Lampard (3rd) and James Beattie (5th) nudging out some of England’s established world-class stars, such as Michael Owen, Sol Campbell and Paul Scholes.
But Beckham, who had been England’s driving force on so many occasions, showed that he is still the fans’ number one, recording roughly twice as many votes as Rooney to win the award.
And the acclaim 2003 didn't end there for Leytonstone-born Beckham as he also received an OBE from The Queen.
Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard, Joe Hart, Glen Johnson and Danny Welbeck are all in the hunt this year and it's up to you which star claims the 2012 England Player of the Year award at the inaugural FA England Awards in association with Vauxhall at St. George's Park on Sunday 3 February 2013.
Place your vote in the poll below before the closing date of 13 January 2013. You can also vote for the England Men's Under-21sand Women's Senior Players of the Year, too.