Blackpool’s Finlay Sinclair-Smith is one of 11 young footballers to be recognised by the League Football Education (LFE) for his achievements both on and off the pitch.
The second-year apprentice has enjoyed a prolific spell in front of goal in the Under-18s this season which has seen him earn first-team recognition.
The winger was handed his senior debut in the Checkatrade Trophy against Wigan Athletic in August and celebrated the occasion with a goal, netting an equaliser three minutes from time.
He then added another appearance to his tally in the competition against Accrington Stanley in October, while he has also made great strides with his education.
LFE regional officer Simon Williams said: “Fin has surpassed his own expectations of himself in what he has achieved so far.
“It has been special to witness his self-belief increase, particularly in the classroom where he has received support from his tutors, leaving him way above his target grade.
“Fin has created strong relationships with those around him, from Viv Black at the college to his coaches at the football club, who all speak highly of him.
“I hope that Fin continues to grow in all areas and manages to build on his debut for the first-team.”
‘The 11’ acknowledges the football and academic progress of U18 players on apprenticeships at current or former English Football League (EFL) clubs – and is also designed to assess other factors, including involvement in community or charity-based initiatives.
This accolade celebrates the holistic development of young players, a barometer which is also applied to the LFE Apprentice of the Year Awards, presented at The EFL Awards dinner in April.
England Under-20 World Cup winners Ademola Lookman (formerly Charlton Athletic), Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (formerly Sheffield United) and Lewis Cook (formerly Leeds United) have all previously been named in ‘The 11’.
Everton forward Lookman and AFC Bournemouth midfielder Cook also went on to become Apprentice of the Year winners. Others to previously feature in this select group include Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Conor Chaplin (Portsmouth) and James Justin (Luton Town).
The 11 for December 17 are: Finlay Sinclair-Smith (Blackpool), Callum Styles (Bury), George Lloyd (Cheltenham Town), Joe Lynch (Crewe Alexandra), Danny Amos (Doncaster Rovers), Jack Tucker (Gillingham), Jesse Debrah (Millwall), Tommy Hope (Milton Keynes Dons), Matthew Longstaff (Newcastle United), Sam Cartwright (Peterborough United) and Reece McGinley (Rotherham United).
LFE chief executive Alan Sykes added: “The 11 is directly associated with apprentice reviews that are conducted by our regional officer’s throughout the season.
“It is a great way to highlight the achievements and progression of talented young footballers who apply themselves to all aspects of their apprenticeship.”
For in depth profiles on all of the players named in ‘The 11’ for December, please visit the LFE website.