Academy starlet Lewis Thompson has been recognised by League Football Education (LFE) for his on and off the pitch achievements.
The Rovers scholar has enjoyed an impressive first year at the club, becoming a consistent performer for the Under-18s, leading to his progression into the Under-23 side, who he made a handful of appearances for towards the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
The 17-year-old defender has also been recognised on the international stage, having represented both England and Northern Ireland at youth level. In addition, he has maintained an exceptional academic standard and is achieving distinctions in every unit towards the Extended Diploma.
As a result, Thompson has been named alongside 10 other young footballers in LFE’s ‘The 11’, which acknowledges and celebrates the sporting and academic progress of Under-18 players on apprenticeships at current or former EFL clubs.
Judged by LFE’s team of regional officers, 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 annual EFL Awards dinner.
Ademola Lookman, who joined Everton from Charlton in January and Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook (formerly Leeds United) were both named in ‘The 11’ ahead of becoming the Championship’s Apprentice of the Year, while others to previously feature in this select group include Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Conor Chaplin (Portsmouth) and Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin (formerly Sheffield United).
Rovers’ Head of Education, Neil Chadwick, said: “It’s great that Lewis’ all-round development this year has been recognised by LFE and specifically Craig Skinner, LFE’s regional officer for Blackburn Rovers.
“He’s shown a real thirst to learn and progress and that has been evident in his progress on the pitch for both the Under-18s and the Under-23s, as well as attending a Northern Ireland Under-19 training camp.
“He has showed similar levels of dedication to his education, as part of his apprenticeship, and is achieving consistent Distinctions within his BTEC programme. Hopefully he continues to progress in the same manner next year as he has this season.”
LFE chief executive Alan Sykes added: “The 11 is directly associated with apprentice reviews that are conducted by our regional officers 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.”
The 11 – June 2017:
Tom Scott (AFC Wimbledon)
Oliver Mulders (Birmingham City)
Lewis Thompson (Blackburn Rovers)
Tommy Wood (Burnley)
Billy Crellin (Fleetwood Town)
Sam Dalby (Leyton Orient)
Luke Andersen (Lincoln City)
Hugo Logan (Milton Keynes Dons)
Rhys Kavanagh (Newport County)
Tyler Smith (Sheffield United)
Matthew Taylor (Wigan Athletic)
Established by the EFL and the PFA in 2004, LFE is tasked with managing the Apprenticeship programme at EFL clubs and is currently responsible for around 1,300 apprentices at 77 football clubs.