Sheffield United's Harry Maguire wins Football League award

By Paul FletcherBBC Sport

Sheffield United defender Harry Maguire has won the Football League Young Player of the Month award for August.

The 18-year-old has been an ever-present this season in the Blades' strong start to the League One season.

His manager Danny Wilson said: "I have been very impressed with him so far, not just with his ability but with his all-round professionalism.

Maguire added: "To get an award like this in my first month of my first full season feels great."

United are currently second in the League One table, and Sheffield-born Maguire was part of a defence that kept three clean sheets in August, as well as scoring his first senior goal, a header in the 2-0 victory at Oldham on 6 August.

"Winning this award was a big surprise," said Maguire. "I am becoming more confident with every game. I am a young lad who is still learning but as I gain more experience I should become a better player."

Maguire started out at Barnsley before joining the Blades as a 13-year-old. He was a regular in the United Under-18 side and the reserves before breaking into the first team in the latter stages of last season as the Blades battled unsuccessfully against relegation from the Championship.

His first involvement in a matchday squad was against Leeds in March but he had to wait until 12 April before he made his senior debut as a substitute in the 2-0 home defeat by Cardiff City.

Harry Maguire (left) is given his Young Player of the Month award by Sheffield United boss Danny Wilson
Maguire wants to end the season celebrating promotion

"What I really like about him is his calmness," added Wilson, who took over as United boss during the summer. "It is very impressive to see such a calm head on young shoulders.

"His all-round game is good and although we all know that he still has a lot to learn, he is continuing to get better and better and his award is well deserved."

Maguire models himself on Chelsea and England centre-back John Terry, but at present the major influence on his career is fellow Blades central defender Neill Collins.

The 28-year-old, who has played for the likes of Wolves, Sunderland, Preston and Leeds, has been alongside Maguire at the heart of the Blades defence all season.

"I would not have won this award without Neill," added Maguire.

"He has guided me along, encouraging me and talking me through games, helping me to benefit from his experience."

Maguire is one of a string of home-grown players starting to make an impact in the first team at Bramall Lane as the Blades look to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt.

The likes of goalkeeper George Long and midfielder Matthew Harriott have played for the first team this season after coming through the ranks, while another home-grown talent, striker Jordan Slew, was bought by Premier League Blackburn Rovers on transfer deadline day.

All of the aforementioned played appeared in the FA Youth Cup final against Manchester United last season, although Maguire has limited recollections of the 6-3 aggregate defeat after he was knocked out during the second leg at Old Trafford.

"My runners-up medal was probably the biggest award I had before this young player trophy but I remember nothing about it after I was knocked out in the second half," he added.

"I was unable to collect my medal. In the end somebody sent it to me through the post."

Maguire still feels uncomfortable in front of the camera but is certainly targeting more success during the current season.

"We've got a great team with a fantastic spirit," added the young defender.

"As a young lad from Sheffield it would be great to win promotion and take the club on the first step towards being back to where it belongs."

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