FC BATE Borisov goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor has been voted as player of the year in Belarus in a poll conducted by leading sports newspaper Pressball.
The 22-year-old helped BATE win another title this season and was Belarus goalkeeper as they reached the semi-finals of last summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark. "My first position in football was as a striker," he revealed after learning the news.
"When I was six, I started playing at the FC Dinamo Minsk academy, which had produced some great players like Aleksandr Hleb. I played in attack until my first coach Igor Gorelov put me in goal because our first-choice keeper broke his toe. It was only then that I started to be a goalkeeper."
FC Krasnodar midfielder Aleksandr Kulchiy finished second in the poll, ahead of Dinamo Minsk midfielder Stanislav Dragun, with Gutor's predecessor between the posts at BATE – PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara custodian Sergei Veremko – placed fourth.
The annual poll is voted for by the coaches and captains of Belarus's senior and U21 national teams and top division clubs, as well as football pundits and journalists. Gutor collected 414 points, winning the vote by a substantial margin.
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