Derby County youngster Max Bird has been named the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship Apprentice of the Year.
The 18-year-old, fresh from signing a new contract last week which will run until the summer of 2022, has enjoyed a progressive season for the Rams under manager Frank Lampard.
He has featured seven times for the first team and he made his league debut against Swansea City in December.
The midfielder was named in the starting line-up against Premier League side Southampton in Derby’s Emirates FA Cup Third Round clash at Pride Park Stadium at the start of January, whilst his first league start came earlier this month against Aston Villa.
As well as being a regular member of the first-team squad this season, Bird has featured regularly for Derby’s Under-23s and also worn the captain’s armband on several occasions.
Commenting on the news, Lampard said: “I’m not surprised Max has won the Championship Apprentice of the Year award, not only because of his talent on the pitch and his desire to work hard, but how he is off the pitch too.
“He stands out as a young man. He is very polite with everyone, has a real desire to improve and he’s a good team-mate. Whether it has been for the youth teams or when he has been with the first team, he is an all-rounder and it is great recognition for him.
“I would be delighted for Max if he won the overall award because I have found him to be a great lad and our relationship is really good. I’d be pleased for him as an individual.
“Derby County is a massive part of this process in terms of helping develop young men and young players like Max, but the main credit goes to Max because of the way he handles himself and the hard work he has put into it at this point.
“It gives him something that he can push on from and be even more successful at this club and get into the first team more regularly.”
Bird will go up against the winners of the Sky Bet League One and League Two awards. They are; Rochdale’s Daniel Adshead and Stevenage’s Arthurn Iontton.
The overall Apprentice of the Year will be announced and presented on the night at the 2019 EFL Awards on Sunday 7th April, to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.