Barnsley’s Dale Jennings has been awarded The Football League’s Young Player of the Month Award for March. The award covers players that play in all three divisions of the Sky Bet Football League.
The 21 year old winger had an outstanding month that saw him score his first goal for the club to secure three points against Nottingham Forest, and then followed that with a goal in each of the away wins at Reading and Yeovil Town.
Dale, a former winner of The Football League’s Apprentice of the Year award during his time with Tranmere Rovers, joined the Tykes from Bayern Munich last summer. He spent a spell on loan at Milton Keynes Dons before Danny Wilson’s appointment as manager of Barnsley saw Dale return to the club in January and become a first team regular.
On receiving the award, Dale said: “I'm really happy to win this. I think since I came back from my loan at Milton Keynes Dons I've been playing well and I've scored some good goals.
“I'd scored a few goals that got ruled out for offside so it was a great release to get my first goal and then to get a few more was brilliant.”
Barnsley Manager Danny Wilson added, “Dale's been fantastic and he has played exactly as we have wanted him to play.
There's been a lot of expectation on him but he has handled it very well. He's had a tremendous second part of the season and has a great work ethic.”
Each season, Football League clubs invest more than £59m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent.
There are 8,700 young players registered with League clubs making Football League Youth Development the largest centrally co-ordinated young player programme in world football. In the 2013/14 season to date, 180 players aged 21 or under have made their professional débuts for Football League clubs.
David Wetherall, Head of Youth Development at The Football League, said, “Dale has been fortunate to gain a lot of experience at a young age. As a former winner of The Football League’s Apprentice of the Year it’s been pleasing to see him establish himself in the Barnsley team and go on to put in some excellent performances for them last month.”
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. To be eligible the player must be either under 21 years of age or be playing in the season during which he turns 21. Currently a third of all players registered with Football League clubs are eligible to be considered for this award.