Striker Patrick Bamford has been named The Football League’s Young Player of the Month following his performances for MK Dons in December.
The 20-year-old, now on loan at Championship side Derby County, scored 3 goals in December, helping the Dons to important wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers, Port Vale and Crawley Town.
Those strikes were just three of the 17 goals the young Chelsea forward scored during his most recent loan spell at stadiummk during the first half of the season and his 21st overall for the Football Club.
Bamford, who has since scored for The Rams, started as a trainee at Nottingham Forest before signing for Chelsea at the beginning of 2012. His loan spell at Milton Keynes Dons was his second at the club having spent five months there last season.
Bamford was thrilled to receive the award and said: “Even though it is a team game and you are always striving to do your best for the team, to get personal awards is really nice.
It was a great experience at MK Dons and a great learning curve. I really enjoyed it there and I managed to score a few goals. I was a bit reluctant to leave but I knew for my own career and development I had to push on.”
Each season, Football League clubs invest more than £40m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent. Around a third of this money (£12.6m) is provided by the Football Association and Premier League.
There are 8,700 young players registered with League clubs making Football League Youth Development the largest centrally co-ordinated young player programme in world football. In the 2013/14 season to date, 125 players aged 21 or under have made their professional debuts for Football League clubs.
David Wetherall, Head of Youth Development at The Football League, said, “Patrick has clearly made the most of the opportunity to go out on loan and play first team football. His performances for Milton Keynes Dons in the first half of the season were outstanding and he looks to have taken the step up to playing in the Sky Bet Championship in his stride.
Each month the accolade will be awarded by The Football League to the young player who has made the most significant contribution and impact in first team football. To be eligible the player must be either under 21 years of age or be playing in the season during which he turns 21. Currently a third of all players registered with Football League clubs are eligible to be considered for this award.
For more information on the award and each month’s winner visit www.football-league.co.uk