Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Dominic Iorfa has been named The Football League’s Young Player of the Month for January.The award covers players that play in all three divisions of the Sky Bet Football League.
Handed his first-team debut on 6th December, Iorfa became a vital part of a Wolves back four that kept three clean sheets in the Sky Bet Championship in January, picking up two wins and two draws along the way.
Iorfa’s emergence coincided with a run of form that saw Kenny Jackett’s side close the gap on the Play-Off pack and take Fulham to an FA Cup replay in a 0-0 draw to make it four shut-outs during the month.
Iorfa can operate comfortably at centre-half, yet his pace, athleticism and composure on the ball has seen him deployed at right-back to great effect with fans already creating their own terrace chant for him.
Son of former Nigeria international Dominic Iorfa Senior, he was part of Southend United’s youth team before signing for Wolves at the age of 15. He made his senior debut playing for Shrewsbury Town last season before making a full Wolves debut at the end of 2014. Iorfa has also represented England under-18s and is currently in the under-19 squad.
On being named The Football League’s January Young Player of the Month, Iorfa said: "I’ve seen some of the other players that have won it and they are all good young players who have been doing really well, so for me to be in that list of winners is very good and I’m very happy. It’s been a good few months for me and I just want to push on from here."
On his season to date season, Iorfa added: "The manager’s shown that if you’re good enough, he’ll give you a chance, so that was one of my aims for the season - if I kept my head down and kept working hard, come the end of the season I might break into the first team. Luckily for me, that’s happened a lot earlier and I’m still in the team now so I’ve got to keep working hard.
"The fans have been brilliant. I can’t believe I’ve got my own song already. I couldn’t believe it when it first started. I heard them singing and thought ‘that can’t be my name’. Then it went on for about another 20 minutes, and ever since then they’ve sung it at every game. It’s been really good."
BBC: Dominic Iorfa - Wolves defender wins Football League award
Presenting Iorfa’s award, Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett said: "Dominic has done really well and taken his opportunity since coming into the first team. He has shown good consistency, ability on the ball and a turn of pace since he has come into the side.
"When I came into the club I felt that a new group was needed and that will continue to have to move on – it is very important for us. Giving these younger players the chance and the opportunity to play first team football is key.
"The support system set up in our Academy for our young players is very important. It’s important at the club but it is also just as important for when they are away from the club. Dominic is a very level-headed young man with a professional attitude to his football and that will stand him in good stead just as much as his ability."
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 eight 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 this month’s recipient, David Wetherall, Head of Youth Development at The Football League, said: "It’s been fantastic to see Dominic breakthrough in to the Wolves first team and make such an impression with management and fans alike.
"Having gained valuable experience as a youth player at Southend, a loan player at Shrewsbury and now as a first team member in the Wolves squad Dominic’s career is progressing well and I hope The Football League Young Player of the Month Award is the first of many honours."
Each month the accolade is 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 around a quarter of all players registered with Football League clubs are eligible to be considered for this award.