Brad Walker dedicates Hartlepool United awards to coach John Hewitson

BRAD AT THE DOUBLE: Brad Walker with his two trophies at the Hartlepool United Player of the Year awards
BRAD AT THE DOUBLE: Brad Walker with his two trophies at the Hartlepool United Player of the Year awards

BEAMING double award winner Brad Walker dedicated his two Hartlepool United gongs to the coach who helped him on his way.

The Billingham-born midfielder was last night crowned Young Player of the Year and also walked away with Goal of the Season for his wonder-strike against Southend United back in February.

It has been quite a year for the 18-year-old who has gone from being a youth team player to first team regular in the space of 12-months and he dedicated his awards to Pools director of youth, John Hewitson.

Hewitson, who is currently helping assist manager Colin Cooper with first team duties, was on stage last night to present the Young Player award to Walker, a popular winner inside a packed Staincliffe Hotel at Seaton.

Walker only signed professional terms with the Sky Bet League Two club in the summer after impressing on the pre-season tour to Holland.

Cooper, and former assistant Craig Hignett, quickly recognised his potential and he has repaid that faith - scoring three stunning goals in 41 appearances this term.

Proud Walker told SportMail: “It is great to get this recognition from the fans.

“The majority of the first team is made up of young players and to be honest a few of them could have won Young Player of the Year so this is great for me.

“I want to dedicate the award to John Hewitson because he tried his best last year to try and get me in the first team but it never really came about.

“This season though he helped me get on the plane to Holland in the summer and it all went from there.

“For his help and support, I want to dedicate it to John.”

His Goal of the Season came in the second-half of the game at Roots Hall. Walker, who was just 17 at the time, chested the ball down before volleying it first time into the top corner from 20-yards to secure a point.

Walker said: “It was an important goal at the time.

“Southend were in the play-offs and we were just behind them and we needed to get at least a point to keep in touch.

“I didn’t have the best of games that night to be honest but to score that goal made me very happy.”

Walker’s impressive form in the centre of the field has also seen him called up to two England Under-18 training camps and he was also rewarded with the League Two Apprentice of the Year at the glittering Football League Awards ceremony.

He remains modest but admits the latest additions to his ever-expanding trophy cabinet make him proud.

“I am very proud to have won these two awards,” added Walker, who had voted for fellow midfielder Simon Walton and striker Luke James for the Players’ Player of the Year Award.

“To have won the Apprentice of the Year and then to be rewarded by the fans with the Young Player of the Year award is fantastic for me.

“It has been some year and I have loved every minute of it.

“Last year I was with the youth team and I enjoyed it but thought I’d try to push on this year.

“To be recognised by the gaffer and Higgy, when he was here, in the summer was great for me but I never thought I’d go on to play more than 40 games this season.

“It has been an unbelievable year.”