Derby County manager Frank Lampard has lavished praise on Rams youngster Max Bird after he was named the 2018/19 apprentice of the year at the annual EFL Awards, held in London on Sunday night.
The 18-year-old, who had already been named the Championship apprentice of the year, beat off competition from Rochdale’s Daniel Adshead and Stevenage’s Arthurn Iontton to win the overall award.
Lampard said: “I’m not surprised Max has won the award, not only because of his talent on the pitch and his desire to work hard, but also because of how he is off the pitch too.
“He stands out as a young man. He is very polite with everyone, has a real desire to improve and he’s a good teammate.
“Whether it has been for the youth teams or when he has been with the first team, he is an all-rounder, and this is great recognition for him.”
The 18-year-old Bird, who signed a new contract last month which will run until the summer of 2022, has enjoyed a progressive season for the Rams under Lampard.
He made his league debut against Swansea City in December and has now featured seven times for the first team.
The midfielder was named in the starting line-up against Premier League side Southampton in Derby’s Emirates FA Cup, Third Round clash at Pride Park at the start of January, while his first league start came in March against Aston Villa.
As well as being a regular member of the first-team squad this season, Bird has featured regularly for Derby’s U23s, for whom he has worn the captain’s armband on several occasions.
Speaking at the EFL Awards, Bird said: “I’m delighted, I couldn’t ask for much more. To win this award is a proud moment for me, and all I can do is thank everyone who has helped me at Derby, from the U18s up to the first team. It’s brilliant, I just want to keep improving from here.”