By Chris Slavin
Anthony Hartigan was tonight awarded the League One LFE Apprentice of the Year accolade at the EFL Awards and the 18-year-old has earned glowing praise from his manager Neal Ardley.
The home-grown AFC Wimbledon talent was announced as the winner at a glittering awards ceremony held at the London Hilton hotel.
Anthony made 16 first-team appearances for the Dons this season before a knee injury curtailed his campaign. Since its inception, the Apprentice of the Year award has recognised outstanding young professionals who excel both on and off the pitch, with educational progress one of the factors considered.
Neal Ardley said: "Young players today are different to young players when I came through the ranks. Society and football have changed. They get a lot more a lot earlier and they expect a lot more. Sometimes players don't want to earn it and they have an opinion of where they are in the grand scheme of things that isn't always the case, but with Anthony Hartigan the most refreshing thing about him is that he is not like that. He goes back to my era where he appreciates that he has to work. He appreciates that he has to prove to be better than people already around the squad.
"Anthony's ability to want to learn is phenomenal. He is always asking questions, always looking at himself and being critical, so he doesn't want to point the finger, he doesn't want to hide and say, 'that wasn't me, that was someone else'. He is always saying, 'I should have done better there'. Anthony knows what he has to work on.
"He is always talking about the game and trying to be better at it. I find that really refreshing because it is so rare in young players today and people in football talk. You talk to people at Spurs, and at different clubs, and when we talk about these young lads, he is one of the good ones. In terms of mentality and desire, he has got it. Even people at other clubs say those players are rare these days. Anthony is one of those players and he thoroughly deserves the award."
All at AFC Wimbledon congratulate Anthony on deservedly winning the award.