Stevenage's Luke Freeman has been named the April Young Player of the Month for the npower Football League.

The 20-year-old winger struck three times in six appearances last month to help Stevenage clinch the final npower League 1 Play-Off place and keep them on course for a possible third consecutive promotion.

After a short spell in Charlton Athletic's Centre of Excellence, Freeman was signed by Gillingham in January 2007 where he became the youngest player to feature in an FA Cup game aged 15 years and 233 days.

Recruited by Arsenal in 2008, Freeman went on to join Boro in January 2012 in the search of first team football and to date has notched up 30 appearances for the Hertfordshire club as well as featuring for England at U16 and U17 levels.

And Freeman admitted that receiving the Young Player of the Month Award provides an added lift going into the club's npower League 1 Play-Off semi final against Sheffield United: "It is massive for me to win the award, it is the biggest achievement I've had so far in my career - it's my first one and I will never forget it. This will give me a massive confidence boost going into the games on Friday and Monday.

"We have done our homework for the games with Sheffield United and we know how to go about it. At the end of the day we are a good enough side to play them over two legs.

"We can defend as well as attack but we are not afraid of playing one game and we believe that we can take them over two games and we are looking forward to Friday and Monday."

Boro manager Gary Smith added: "He's a very good signing, full stop. He's a young player with bundles of potential. He has that creative edge and turn of pace, with the ability to pick a pass, to deliver a cross and most importantly to beat a player.

"As he matures he'll get stronger and the experiences of playing as he is now will serve him well. His technical and physical abilities are all there to see.

"As he matures and develops there is every chance that he has enough room to stretch back into the Premier League."

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 8,500 young players registered with League clubs making Football League Youth Development the largest centrally co-ordinated young player programme in world football.

Head of Youth Development at The Football League, David Wetherall said: "Luke has been a superb since he arrived at Stevenage and shone especially last month showing maturity beyond his age to aid in the club's Play-Off push.

"He has the talent to go a long way in the game and I very much look forward to following his progress and wish him all the best for his career."

Each month, the Young Player of the Month Award is 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.

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