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Byram named Young Player of the Month

19 April 2013

Leeds United's Sam Byram has been awarded the npower Football League Young Player of the Month Award for March.

After coming through the ranks in the Leeds United Youth Academy, Byram made his first-team debut in the 4-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town in this season's Capital One Cup and has since gone on to become a first-team regular, making 52 appearances and scoring four league goals for the Whites.

In his breakthrough season, March was undoubtedly one of the highlights for Byram, netting twice over the course of the month.

Having scored the opening goal in the 1-1 draw with Leicester City, the versatile defender followed this up with an equaliser in the 1-1 home draw with Peterborough United. The teenager also made a significant impact at his customary end of the pitch, with a series of impressive displays as United went unbeaten in their first four games of the month.

On winning the award, Byram said: "Overall, I'm happy with my form this season.

"I've made a few mistakes but learnt and got better from them. I am looking to improve - I practice in my spare time and physically I think I will get stronger and faster."

Leeds United manager Brian McDermott added: "I'm delighted for Sam that he has won the award, first and foremost he is a really good person.

"He wants to learn and get better. I have found that around the place so far, the players are respectful, engaging and want to get better.

"Sam is not one to sit back on his laurels - he has got potential, he is keen to learn and I am sure he will go on to fulfil it."

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, 231 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: "Sam played a big part in the club's pre-season preparations and he was deservedly rewarded with a first-team start at the beginning of the current campaign.

"With a number of stand-out performances he has never looked back and at the age of 19, he has a very exciting future ahead of him. I look forward to keeping a close 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 all players registered with Football League clubs are eligible to be considered for this award.

Click here to read Paul Fletcher's exclusive BBC Sport interview with Sam Byram 

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