Spireites ace Tendayi Darikwa has been awarded the npower Football League Young Player of the Month Award for December.
Having graduated from the Chesterfield youth setup, Darikwa signed his first professional contract with the club in 2010. The attacking midfielder agreed a three-year contract extension this season and his performances for the Spireites have made him an important member of the first-team, already starting 27 games for the club during the current campaign.
Despite a congested December schedule, Darikwa has put in a number of standout performances, bringing some festive cheer to Chesterfield supporters by helping the team to wins over Port Vale and York, scoring two goals in the process.
Darikwa said: “It's a great honour to be recognised in this way and I'm delighted to have won the award. I'd like to thank the Football League for making the presentation."
Manager Paul Cook added: “I'd like to congratulate Tendayi for winning the award, which is just reward for the progress he has made this season. He's worked very hard on his game and he's put in some impressive performances."
Each season, Football League clubs invest more than £40m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent. Around a third of this money (£12.6m) is provided by the Football Association and Premier League.
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 2012/13 season to date, 179 players aged 21 or under have made their professional debuts for Football League clubs.
David Wetherall, Head of Youth Development at The Football League, said, “Tendayi looks to be a real talent and he has shown this with a number of fantastic performances this season.
“He has made real progress since breaking into the senior team and this award is testament to his development, he has certainly caught my eye this season and I look forward to watching him progress at the club.”
Each month the accolade will be 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.