League Football Education (LFE) has recognised the on and off pitch achievements of 11 young footballers, including Boro's Josh Coburn.

‘The 11’ acknowledges the football and academic progress of Under-18 players on apprenticeships at EFL clubs – and is also designed to assess other factors, including involvement in community or charity-based initiatives.

Striker Josh rose to prominence in April when he gained a first outing in Boro’s senior team during an away victory over Rotherham United, and then scored the winning goal on his home debut against Sheffield Wednesday three days later.

The 18-year-old, who signed a professional contract in January, has made four Sky Bet Championship appearances off the bench in total, while he has also demonstrated great maturity and dedication to continue working towards his Extended Diploma.

Manager Neil Warnock said: He’s one of those who just loves the game, always gives 100% and has a smile on his face. It’ll be a good experience for him being with the first team, working on his close control and the runs he makes, because it’s so fast at this level.”

Barry Dawson, Head of Education & Welfare, said: “Josh is an educated and refined old fashioned centre forward, who has terrific athletic prowess. He has the ability to hold the ball up when opposed, then the intelligence to distribute the ball accurately to advance his team up the pitch.

“His finishing has been outstanding this season, scoring goals with both feet and his head. He impressed in the Under-18 and Under-23 groups, which accelerated his progress towards the first team.”

A total of 33 apprentices are selected for the award during the 2020-21 season, which celebrates the holistic development of young players and is a barometer applied to the LFE Apprentice of the Year awards.

Notable academy graduates to earn the accolade includes Jude Bellingham (formerly of Birmingham City), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (formerly of Sheffield United), Ademola Lookman (formerly of Charlton Athletic), Oli McBurnie (formerly of Bradford City) and Ryan Sessegnon (formerly of Fulham).

LFE chief executive Sarah Stephen said: “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 – May 2021:

  • Saleem Akanbi (Cambridge United)
  • James Beadle (Charlton Athletic)
  • Connor O’Riordan (Crewe Alexandra)
  • Evan Khouri (Grimsby Town)
  • Nicholas Bilokapic (Huddersfield Town)
  • Louis Beckett (Hull City)
  • Antony Papadopoulos (Leyton Orient)
  • Casey Pettit (Luton Town)
  • Josh Coburn (Middlesbrough)
  • Andre da Silva Mendes (Morecambe)
  • Eddie Brearey (Oxford United)