Teenage talent up against Lewis Cook and Moussa Dembele for Football League award....THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE have announced the three-man shortlist for the annual Young Player of the Year award, with the winner to be announced at The Football League Awards in Manchester on Sunday 17th April.
This year’s nominees are:
Moussa Dembélé (Fulham) – Fulham’s French forward has hit the back of the net an impressive 14 times in the Sky Bet Championship this season
Lewis Cook (Leeds United) – The talented 19 year old has won plaudits across the division and beyond for his dominant midfield displays throughout the season
Rico Henry (Walsall) – In his first full season in the first team, Walsall’s left back has been central to the Saddlers’ promotion bid from Sky Bet League 1
The award is presented to the best player in The Football League under the age of 21, or in the season in which he turned 21 and celebrates the emergence of young playing talent at The Football League’s 72 clubs. This year’s winner will hope to follow in the footsteps of the 2015 winner Dele Alli, who has gone onto receive international honours and wide acclaim in his first season at Tottenham Hotspur. Gareth Bale (2007) and Fabian Delph (2009) are also internationally recognised previous winners of the award.
The Football League Awards celebrates on and off pitch excellence across The League's 72 clubs, rewarding players, clubs and fans.
Each season, Football League clubs invest more than £60m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent.
There are 8,500 young players between the ages of 8 and 18 registered with League clubs, making Football League Youth Development the largest centrally co-ordinated young player programme in world football. Over 200 players aged 21 or under make their professional debuts for Football League clubs each season.
Commenting on the nominations for Young Player of the Year, Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League, said: "We’re delighted to announce the shortlist of this hugely prestigious award. The strength of the Young Player of the Year shortlist continues to highlight the wealth of young talent that exists throughout The Football League. We wish all three players the very best of luck.”
Shortlists for the Sky Bet Players of the Year in each division will be announced through the week. For the first time this year the Awards will also recognise the best 11 players and manager from across the 72 clubs, with the ‘Football Manager Team of the Season’ to be announced on the night.
Other categories include the Johnstone’s Paint Community Club of the Year, Capital One Supporter of the Year, the Mitre Goal of the Year, Football Manager Team of the Year and the Sir Tom Finney Award.
Live updates as the winners are announced will be provided via The Football League’s Twitter page, @football_league, on Sunday evening, with the Awards ceremony broadcast live on The Football League YouTube channel from 8:45pm.
To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of award categories, visit www.FLAwards.com or search #FLAwards.
Previous Football League Young Player of the Year winners are:
2015: Dele Alli (Milton Keynes Dons)
2014: Will Hughes (Derby County)
2013: Thomas Ince (Blackpool)
2012: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
2011: Connor Wickham (Ipswich Town)
2010: Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace)
2009: Fabian Delph (Leeds United)
2008: Michael Kightly (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
2007: Gareth Bale (Southampton)
2006: David Nugent (Preston North End)