NEWCASTLE UNITED duo Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie are the joint-winners of the North-East Football Writers Association’s Player of the Year award.

The Magpies pair could not be split in a poll of more than 30 North-East football writers, having made major contributions to last season’s Championship title success.

Lascelles, who was handed the captain’s armband in the wake of Newcastle’s relegation, made 43 appearances during last term’s title triumph.

The centre-half has made nine Premier League appearances during the current campaign, and was nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month award for September.

Ritchie joined Newcastle in the summer of 2016, and scored 12 goals in his 42 Championship appearances last season.

He has contributed a number of assists since returning to the top-flight, and has started all of the Magpies’ league matches this term.

“I think that both played really well for us," said Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez. "It was a great season last season, and this year they have started really well. I am not surprised you have given them that award. They represent the pride and the passion and the commitment that everybody is expecting from Newcastle players. They are a good example of that.”

The duo are the third joint-winners in the 38-year history of the NEFWA awards. David McCreery and Neil McDonald shared the top award in 1987, with Nyron Nosworthy and Dean Whitehead named as joint-winners in 2007.

Former Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford retains his North-East Young Player of the Year award, having impressed with the Black Cats in the second half of last season prior to making a £35m move to Everton.

Sunderland Ladies defender Victoria Williams has won the North-East Women’s Player of the Year award.

The awards will be presented at the North-East Football Writers Association’s annual Player of the Year dinner at Ramside Hall on Sunday, February 11.

Awards will also be presented to Jermain Defoe, Blyth Spartans, Spennymoor Town and South Shields.