Frank Lampard believes Derby County’s Max Bird is a worthy winner of the EFL’s Apprentice of the Year award.
The Academy graduate was crowned as the recipient of the overall prize, after being named as the Championship’s winner last month, at the 2019 EFL Awards on Sunday evening in London.
Bird, who recently signed a new contract with Derby until 2022, was handed the accolade for his professionalism both on and off the pitch.
The midfielder has made seven appearances for Derby’s first-team under Lampard so far this season and, over the course of the campaign, the Rams’ boss has seen progression in Bird’s game.
Lampard also says the 18-year-old is an example for other players coming through the club’s Academy set-up to look up to.
Speaking to RamsTV, Lampard said: “It’s a fully-deserved accolade for Max.
“He has had a really good year in terms of what he’s done on the pitch and he has progressed as a player.
“The award is not only about what you’re like as a player but how you handle yourself off the pitch.
“The Academy sets good standards, as I do too as the manager, and what you want to see is not only good footballers coming through, but good people too.
“Max delivers on all fronts in that regard. He has had a tough year with personal circumstances, but he really is a credit on and off the pitch.
“He has got into the first-team squad on a regular basis this season and I am sure there’s more to come from him.”
He added: “I believe he will do well in his career. He is a great little model for all the players coming through.”
As well as being a regular member of Derby’s first-team squad this season, Bird has featured regularly for the Rams’ Under-23s and worn the captain’s armband on several occasions.