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Club News

Long wins Football League award

22 March 2013

George Long has been awarded the npower Football League Young Player of the Month Award for February.


The Blades goalkeeper, 19, was presented with the award by boss Danny Wilson at the Shirecliffe training complex on Thursday. The award covers all three divisions in the Football League and Long follows in the footsteps of team-mate Harry Maguire, who won the award in August 2011.


February was undoubtedly one of the highlights of Long's short career, conceding just three goals in six npower League One games, including a string of fine saves and a man of the match performance in the 0-0 home draw with Leyton Orient. Long played a vital role during a month where United won four games, keeping the club firmly in the hunt for an automatic promotion spot.


On winning the award, Long said: "I was delighted to be told I'd won the award. I have been happy with my form for much of the season, although because how well the lads in front of me have done, I have been quiet for long periods.


"This award should be shared amongst the lads because I couldn't have done it without them, and that includes the other goalkeepers at the club, and goalkeeping coach, Darren Ward.


"I don't see any reason why I can't maintain my form, I work hard on the training pitch and hopefully I can continue to play my part to the team winning promotion."


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 2012/13 season to date, 217 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, "At just 19 years of age, George has already made a huge contribution to his club.


"Having become the youngest ever goalkeeper to make an appearance for the Blades, he has certainly taken his chance when called upon this season, which has resulted in him making the number one spot his own. He certainly has a bright future ahead of him and I look forward to keeping an eye on his progression."


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 the players registered with Football League clubs meet that criterion.


For more information on the award and each month's winner visit www.football-league.co.uk


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