Hartlepool United star Luke James has been named the League One Apprentice of the Year for 2013 at the Football League Awards.
The 18-year-old, from Amble, beat off competition from Sheffield United’s George Willis and Colchester United’s Drew Wright.
He landed the prize at a ceremony in London last month.
James was handed his award on stage by PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor and interviewed by the evening’s host Manish Bhasin, presenter of The Football League Show on BBC One.
A video of James’ exploits including interviews with the player himself, as well as staff such as first team coach John Hughes, was shown on the big screens to celebrate his triumph.
“It is absolutely fantastic to get this award,” James said.
“It is a great feeling; it’s been really hard work with studying and training but it is worth it.
“You have to sacrifice everything to be a professional and I just want to stay in school and progress my career.”
It’s the first time that a Pools player has won one of the major prizes in what is the eighth year of the Football League Awards.