Watford's Nathaniel Chalobah has been handed the npower Football League Young Player of the Month Award for April.

After signing on loan from Chelsea, Chalobah made his debut for the Hornets as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in September. Since then, he has cemented himself as a first-team regular, making 38 appearances and scoring five goals for Gianfranco Zola's side.

In his breakthrough season, April was undoubtedly one of the highlights for the midfielder. As well as scoring a stunning 30-yard strike against Leicester City, he also made a significant impact at the back, helping the team record an impressive three clean sheets in five games, securing a third-place finish in the npower Championship.

The 18-year-old will hope to finish what has been a productive season for him with a win in the Championship Play-Off Final against Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium on Monday.

On winning the award, Chalobah said: "I'm pleased with award and I'd like to thank The Football League. I've been happy with how things have gone this season.

"At the start of the season I was just coming from the under-21s at Chelsea and looking to play a few games at Watford. I don't know how it's all come about. I couldn't have asked for a better season."

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola said: "Well done to him. He's been an exciting player for us and he's done very well throughout this season. To be given a prize like that is a big thing for him. As his manager I'm pleased because to have a player voted for makes us all proud."

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, 268 players aged 21 or under made their professional debuts for Football League clubs.

David Wetherall, Head of Youth Development at The Football League, said: "Nathaniel has played a big part in Watford's push for promotion this season and has deservedly made himself a first-team regular throughout the campaign that has seen them progress to the npower Championship Play-Off Final.

"He has made a number of outstanding performances and, at the age of 18, has a very exciting future ahead of him."

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. Currently a third of all players registered with Football League clubs are eligible to be considered for this award.

To view all of this season's Football League Young Player of the Month Award winners, please click here

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