Luton Town defender James Justin has been awarded the EFL Young Player of the Month award for November, following another remarkable month for the Hatters as they continue to fly high in Sky Bet League One.
Nathan Jones’ side finished the month unbeaten and currently occupy second place in League One despite only gaining promotion from League Two last season.
At just 20-years of age James Justin continues to show maturity beyond his years as well as versatility in defence, and although this isn’t his first season in professional football, November was certainly a month to remember for the Luton-born defender.
Four league appearances in total in November, Justin was part of a Luton side that conceded just twice, adding two goals and two assists to his personal tally as goals continue to come from all areas of the pitch for the league’s leading goal-scorers.
“I’m over the moon to be honest,” he said on receiving the award.
"There’s lots of young talent throughout the leagues and to be noticed for my performances is a special achievement. November was definitely a standout month for me and us as a club, especially with winning this award. It’s nice for me to add a couple of goals to my game as well which I’ve been lacking at times.
“I’ve had to be patient and bide my time to make sure I got into the team regularly. I knew that once I got a regular spot I needed to take my chance and I feel like I have done that."
New for this season, all contenders for the EFL Young Player of the Month award have to be a Club Developed player, which is defined as a player who has been registered with the relevant club for a minimum of 12 months prior to the end of his Under-19 season.
Very much a Luton boy, Justin has been at the club for over 13-years and was part of the talented Under-11 side that were crowned European champions in 2009.
When asked what he remembered about that day as an 11-year-old he said:
“Other than being in floods of tears with happiness, I don’t remember too much other than the crazy atmosphere. I’ve still got the DVDs at home that we watch back and it’s crazy to look at where we all are now."
This season marks the tenth year of an award that aims to highlight and celebrate the outstanding work EFL clubs do in developing the next generation of young players.
Despite being just 20, Justin has played over 60 games for the club and made his international debut at England Under-20 level, and whilst admitting competitive opportunities for young players could sometimes be hard to come by, he was quick to thank manager Nathan Jones for his belief in youth.
“It’s definitely harder for young players to get game time, especially at bigger clubs with the talent that’s out there,” he continued.
"Even at Luton, we’re trying to get promoted and take the club up so there’s always pressure but Nathan Jones has done a great job in bringing young players through to where we are now playing in the first-team.
“As a twenty-year-old I can’t really ask for too much more at the moment."