Tommy's surprise at being nominated
RISING Ipswich Town star Tommy Smith today expressed his surprise at being on the shortlist to become the Football Apprentice of the Year.The 17-year-old central defender said: “I did not know anything about it.
RISING Ipswich Town star Tommy Smith today expressed his surprise at being on the shortlist to become the Football Apprentice of the Year.
The 17-year-old central defender said: “I did not know anything about it.
“It is a big honour as there are some very good players on the list.
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“We will have to wait and see what the judges say, but it is a privilege to be in with a chance.”
This is the third year the award, sponsored by Wickes, has run with others on the shortlist being Anthony Acheampong (Cardiff City), Mark Beevers (Sheffield Wednesday), Mark Devonshire (Barnsley), Lee Hills (Crystal Palace) and Joe Mattock (Leicester City).
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Smith has yet to make a first team appearance, but has played for England at Under-18 level and is a vital member of the Ipswich team who will be playing Aston Villa next Wednesday in the FA Youth Cup.
The winning player will win £5,000 for his club's youth development programme, as well as holiday vouchers. The club of the second-placed player will receive £3,000 and the third placed club will receive £2,000 towards their youth development scheme.
Last year's winner was former Cardiff City defender Chris Gunter, who made his full international debut for Wales last May and his Tottenham debut this month.
A judging panel, made up of ex-Premiership and Republic of Ireland footballer Andy Townsend and representatives from the Football League, Wickes, The Professional Footballer's Association and FourFourTwo Magazine will select the overall winner.
The judges will be looking at various aspects of the apprentices' careers including discipline, education, attitude and of course, performance on the pitch.
The winner will be announced and presented with his award at the Football League Awards ceremony, which will take place at the Hilton Hotel, London on Sunday, March 2.
Finland defender Jonas Portin, who had a trial at Portman Road last month, was due to go to Charlton for a trial this week but was ill.