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The Non-League Football Paper

National Game Awards – The FA England C Player of the Year: Andy Yiadom

THE FA ENGLAND C PLAYER OF THE YEAR – ANDY YIADOM

ANDY Yiadom might not fancy getting in the ring with good friend and top boxer James DeGale – but the attacking Barnet full-back has had a knock-out season.

As well as playing a starring role in Barnet’s Vanarama Conference title win, he’s also packed a punch for England C.

His all-round performances since making his debut against Slovakia, plus goals against Estonia and Cyprus, have seen the former Braintree man crowned the FA’s England C player of the year.

Yiadom said: “I’ve known James DeGale for a long time. He’s got a big fight in America this weekend. I’ve seen him train, but it’s too tough for me so I just sit down and watch!

“He works very hard – as we did at Barnet. Everyone was 100 per cent devoted and put 100 per cent in. When that happens, you can play well and do your stuff.

“I’ve been working hard all the time in training, but the team have to take a lot of the credit for me playing so well. I can’t take all the praise.”

The 23-year-old, who has been playing right-back for the Bees, was used as a right winger for England’s last two games.

And it paid off with the former Hayes & Yeading man bagging a goal in the 4-2 win against Estonia and in the 2-1 defeat to Cyprus U21.

His first goal, in front of more than 2,000 at FC Halifax Town’s Shay home, typified his powerful running, before he scored a rare header in sunny Larnaca.

Yiadom made his England C debut this time last year when Non-League’s Three Lions toured Europe and took on Sparta Prague B, Slovakia and Hungary.

Of course, promotion means ex-Barnet boss Fairclough can no longer call on his services but he goes back to the Football League as England C’s top dog. Yiadom thanked Fairclough for handing him the national jersey.

“There’s loads of really good players in the England C squads, so to come away with such a trophy, I’m really privileged and honoured,” said Yiadom, who was also nominated for Young Player of the Year.

“I’ve always got to perform to my best. But Paul is the one who spotted me and took me to Barnet.

“I’d been on standby when I was at Braintree so it was good to make progress in my game and get selected for the squad. It’s always good to play for your country and to score twice is a real bonus.

“It has to be my best season so far. Winning the league with Barnet was a great achievement.”

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