Millwall midfielder Ben Thompson has been named The Football League’s Young Player of the Month for April.The award covers players that play in all three divisions of the Sky Bet Football League.
With a string of all action displays in the heart of the Lions’ midfield, 20-year-old Thompson helped his team to 13 points in April as they consolidated their place in the Play-Offs.
Thompson also scored his first ever league goal in the 3-1 win versus Shrewsbury Town - a stunning 25-yard volley which was later voted as Millwall’s Goal of the Season.
A lifelong fan, Thompson watched his first Millwall game at the age of four and went on to sign for his boyhood club as a 16-year-old. With a handful of appearances to his name before this season, Thompson has gone on to establish himself as a first-team starter in 2016 and his committed box-to-box style has made him a firm fans' favourite.
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Recording over 30 appearances for Neil Harris’ men this season, Thompson was also named Millwall’s Young Player of the Year at the end of April.
On collecting The Football League’s Young Player of the Month Award for April, Thompson said: “It means a lot.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be awarded such a prestigious award. At the start of the season I wasn't in the team much but to get in the team, play my football and express what I am about, it has all paid off.”
“It has all been a bit of a blur. I haven't really thought about it too much but I'll save that until the end of the season. I've come a long way and enjoyed every minute of it”
Commenting on Thompson’s award, Millwall manager Neil Harris said: “Ben has come a long way in a short space of time. He plays with a spirit which epitomises our football club - like a fan in a football shirt, but one with real quality.
“He’s been a big part in driving us in the last few months. I am extremely proud of him and I'm sure he'd be the first thank his team-mates for putting him in a position to win the trophy.”
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. More than 200 players aged 21 or under make their professional debuts for Football League clubs each season.
Commenting on Thompson’s award, David Wetherall, Head of Youth Development at The Football League, said: “Ben Thompson has had a fantastic month and an excellent season for Millwall. Under the tutelage of Neil Harris there is no reason why he cannot kick on and develop his game yet further.
“It’s always great to see young players turn out for their local clubs but it is extra special when you see a player like Ben excelling for the team he used to watch as a fan.”
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.