Stevenage haven’t been anything special in League Two, they’ve not troubled the top seven nor the bottom two in a season of consolidation and transition.
A recent manager change has seen Darren Sarll leave the club and former manager Dimo Maamria return, sparking hope of an improved campaign next time around.
However, with a limited budget they must rely on players coming through or canny acquisitions to make the grade. They’ll be hunting another Mo Eisa, the star of Cheltenham’s season, or indeed another Ben Wilmot.
Wilmott is ‘one of their own’, a home grown defender with a handful of first team outings to his name, but a growing reputation that will almost certainly see him move on in the summer.
His sale could well pave the way for a summer of sensible but affordable recruitment.
Here, FLW shines the spotlight on the League Two Apprentice of the Year.
Wilmot started the season as just another name in the programme, a young player harbouring first team ambitions but whose own fans might not have recognised him in the street. He finishes it with an individual accolade to his name, England U18 caps and a big-money move lined up in the summer.
His ascendency has taken just ten league games, ten unremarkable outings noted only for his performances rather than any collective achievement. In those ten games he’s wasn’t taken off once, testament perhaps to the durability and stamina of the youngster.
He’s a traditional defender but with a nice element to his play, not one for crunching fouls or excess aggression. He’s conceded just five fouls in his ten matches, finding himself fouled seven times.
Those figures are surprising, League Two can be unforgiving and other defenders often average several fouls a game. Stevenage haven’t been dominating to such a point that he’s not been involved either, the numbers do tell an honest picture of his approach to the game.
Similarly, just two yellow cards in ten games is a decent number for a young defender, demonstrating a willingness to mix the rough with the smooth at times, but not too much. With one assist to his name he’s also proven some worth going forward, something a bigger move may well accentuate.
Wilmot is an incredibly exciting talent, a player who has come from nowhere to attract scouts from the Premier League. When he made the England U18 squad he became the only player to do so from outside the elite academy structure, a gate crasher at the table of the privileged.
There was no surprise he’s been given the EFL award, one which recognises such development and application and he’s one player we’ll hear much more of in the coming years.
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