A community football coach whose players have made it to the Watford first team has received a national award.

Nadim ‘George’ Akhtar from Watford started Xtra Time in 2003 to help young people in Watford get involved in football.

He has now received the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award - and a pair of tickets to an upcoming England game - for excellence and commitment to the community and grassroots football.

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Nadim, who lives in North Watford, said: “I am overjoyed and further motivated to win the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award, but it belongs to so many people and my community."

Watford Observer: Nadim 'George' AkhtarNadim 'George' Akhtar

Nadim, 39, who also coaches at Luton Town’s academy, has taken children to the top academies while also giving them advice about life outside football and doing charity work in the community.

This year Shaqai Forde, who Nadim once coached, made his debut for Watford against Leicester in the FA Cup aged 17.

He added: “We teach them life skills along the way to help them be nice, humble people.

“We recently had a lad who has been with us since 2004 who just signed with Chelsea, which is one of the top academies in the world.

“We know we can’t keep hold of them all, but we do cross paths and speak to parents whose children have been picked up by the top clubs.

Watford Observer: Nadim AkhtarNadim Akhtar

“Of course, we also get children who get chewed up and spat out by these big academies. It's hard and it's not all just glory, and that’s devastating -  we have to manage their expectations.”

Nadim's involvement in the community has only grown over time, and now includes food deliveries to struggling families.

Last Christmas Xtra Time delivered twice as many food and gifts as the year before.

Nadim’s recommendation from his community said: “Nadim started Xtra Time in Watford as there was a lack of ethnic minorities in the game.

Watford Observer: Nadim with father Muhammad AkhtarNadim with father Muhammad Akhtar

“He brought together many children from disadvantaged backgrounds and trained them.

“I can truly say that I have not seen anyone so dedicated to football and someone as community orientated as he is.”

Nadim credits the award to both his late father Muhammad Akhtar and late friend Marvin Morgan, who were both heavily involved in football and community work.

He also hopes to continue to grow and is in talks to find land to build Xtra Time their own base.