BLACKPOOL’s Thomas Ince has been named the Johnstone’s Paint Young Player of the Year at the Football League Awards 2013.
Ince received the award at the gala ceremony at The Brewery, London, on Sunday evening in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.
This year there were a total of 17 awards with 34 clubs shortlisted for honours.
Ince beat two other shortlisted Football League players to the Award, Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Watford’s Matej Vydra.
Ince has found his feet at Blackpool this season to become one of the leading lights in the npower Championship. After joining the Seasiders in 2011, a promising first season culminated in a goal at Wembley in the npower Championship Play-Off Final.
That’s been followed by an outstanding second season in tangerine that has also seen the winger get his first goals for the England Under-21 team.
On winning his award, Ince said: “It is a massive honour when you look at some of the players who have won this award before and what they have gone on to achieve.
“It is an inspiration and hopefully I can build on what I have done this season with Blackpool and the under-21s and have a good career.”
A third of players registered to Football League clubs are eligible for this Award, when assessing the category judges looked at Football League players that are either under 21 years of age, or turned 21 during the 2012/13 season.
The panel was looking to recognise the players they felt had made the most significant contribution and impact in their respective first team this season.
Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football League, said: “The Football League Awards 2013 has given us another opportunity to celebrate success at League clubs both on and off the pitch.
“It gives us the chance to reward those who have achieved fantastic results throughout the year. I would like to congratulate tonight’s winners and all those who were nominated.”
Other notable winners on the night included Watford’s Matej Vydra, who walked away with the npower Championship Player of the Year Award.
The npower League 1 and npower League 2 Player of the Year Awards went to AFC Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie and Port Vale’s Tom Pope respectively.
Peter Shilton OBE received the prestigious Contribution to League Football Award.
Previous winners include Shrewsbury Town manager Graham Turner, Crewe Alexandra Director of Football Dario Gradi MBE and PFA Chief Executive Gordon Taylor OBE.