Barnet’s George Sykes has been named the LFE Apprentice of the Year for League 2 at the Football League Awards 2013.
Sykes received the award at the gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry. This year there were a total of 17 awards with 34 shortlisted for honours.
Sykes beat two other shortlisted League 2 players to the Award, Plymouth Argyle’s Tyler Harvey and Rochdale’s Jamie Allen.
Finishing top goal scorer in last’s season’s Football League Youth Alliance, George has also scored three goals in seven appearances for the Barnet Under-21 Development Squad as well as getting a call up for Scotland U19’s.
After signing a professional contract at the start of the 2012/13 season, George made his senior debut for the Bees in August 2012. As well as excelling on the pitch, his studies have always been important as a scholar, and he has continually stayed ahead of target on all his subjects and portfolios.
On winning his award, Sykes said: “I am really surprised, I didn’t expect when I started my scholarship that I would be getting something like this. It just shows if you work as hard as you can, you give yourself a chance.
“I would like one day to play at the highest level possible but I am not getting ahead of myself.”
The LFE Apprentice of the Year for the Championship was won by Nottingham Forest’s Dimitar Evtimov, while the League 1 Award went to Hartlepool United’s Luke James.
When assessing the category, judges looked at the playing record of the apprentice’s educational attainment, disciplinary record and other outstanding achievements. Players eligible for this award are those in the second year of their apprenticeship (i.e. in his ‘under-18’ year and registered as either a second year scholar or as a first year professional).
Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football League, said: “The Football League Awards 2013 has given us another opportunity to celebrate success at League clubs both on and off the pitch. It gives us the chance to reward those who have achieved fantastic results throughout the year. I would like to congratulate tonight’s winners and all those who were nominated.”
Other notable winners on the night included Watford’s Matej Vydra, who walked away with the npower Championship Player of the Year Award. The npower League 1 and npower League 2 Player of the Year Awards went to AFC Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie and Port Vale’s Tom Pope respectively.
Peter Shilton OBE received the prestigious Contribution to League Football Award. Previous winners include Shrewsbury Town manager Graham Turner, Crewe Alexandra Director of Football Dario Gradi MBE and PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor OBE.
To find out more about The Football League Awards, and for a full list of Award categories, please visit www.FLAwards.com