Young midfielder Will Smallbone has today signed his first professional contract with Southampton Football Club.
Smallbone, who joined the club at the age of eight after being spotted playing for his local side, has penned a deal that will keep him at the club until June 2019.
The 17-year-old netted a stunning winner in this season’s FA Youth Cup clash at Old Trafford and, as a lifelong fan, he is delighted to be continuing his development at a club renowned for helping young players progress.
He said: “It feels amazing to sign at Southampton, especially after all the years I’ve been here so it’s like a dream come true for me.
“Doubt never crossed my mind. It’s been a great club to me over the years and I’m happy that they’ve shown faith in me to offer me a professional contract.
“It came about very easily and they have rewarded me for my performances this year which I’m very grateful for.”
He has made 19 appearances this season in the Under-18 Premier League, scoring five goals in the process and Smallbone outlined his ambitions for the future at a place where there is a clear pathway.
“Short-term it’s just to keep playing regularly for the Under-18s and hopefully keep progressing into the Under-23s as I have done.
“Looking towards next year to be a regular member of the Under-23s and try to train with the first-team.
“The teams are similar throughout the club to play the same way and it helps physically as well.
“The pathway is there if you play well for the Under-23s you get rewarded and it’s obviously a big ambition of mine to make a first-team debut.”