Academy youngsters secure fresh deals

By SFC Media time Sun 07 Jul Saints Academy
Photo by Chris Moorhouse | Dan N'Lundulu

Southampton FC is pleased to announce that four Academy prospects, Nathan Tella, Dan N'Lundulu, Oludare Olufunwa and Kieran Freeman have all put pen to paper on fresh terms at the club.

Forward pairing Tella and N'Lundulu have signed one-year contract extensions, extending their stay at St Mary's until June 2020.

Young full-back Olufunwa has agreed terms on his first professional deal, which also runs until summer 2020, while Freeman has completed an initial six-month extension, running until December 2019.

Tella and N'Lundulu both played their part in last season's Under-23s success, including Premier League 2 promotion and a semi-final appearance in the Premier League International Cup.

Striker N'Lundulu, who missed the first half of the season due to injury, scored the crucial opening goal in the Under-23s' PL2 play-off final victory over Newcastle United in May, and his since earned the chance to train under first-team manager Ralph Hasenhüttl.

Freeman, who swapped Dundee United for Saints back in 2016, has been offered a further six months to continue his development at Staplewood Campus after missing last season through injury.

Freeman commented: "This is the best I've ever felt. It's been a difficult two/three years since I joined the club, but I feel a lot better for it.

"I can't fault how the club have treated me; they've showed faith in me. Now it's just down to me to repay that faith by doing well on the pitch. I've got to make the most of every session and try my best to impress."

N'Lundulu said: "I got back fit in January and finished the season strongly, so there's no better way to start the new season.

"I'm working hard with the Under-23s, but of course I want to earn a shot at the first-team. This is one of the biggest seasons of my life and I'm ready to take my chance."

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 13: LtoR Oludare Olufunwa, Dan Nlundulu, Kayne Ramsay, Nathan Tella during the U23s PL2 Play off final between Southampton and Newcastle United pictured at St. Mary's Stadium on May 13, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Dare Olufunwa (left), Dan N'Lundulu (middle), Kayne Ramsay (middle) and Nathan Tella (right) celebrate Premier League 2 promotion at St Mary's

Tella said: "It's a great feeling. It's nice to know that the club trust me and believe in my ability and hopefully I can repay them.

"Every young player feels as if they've got a chance here. We're all going into every training session thinking; 'this could be the session that changes my life', and that's the right mindset to have." 

Olufunwa said: "I have been here from a young age and the club have nurtured me into the player and person I am today.

"The manager has given everyone motivation, with the trust he shows in young players. It's a realistic target to make the first-team, and that's the incentive to get my head down and work hard next season."

These contracts have been awarded on the basis that all four players have high potential.

academy manager matt hale

Academy Manager Matt Hale added: "These contracts have been awarded on the basis that all four players have high potential.

"Dan and Nathan have both earned a second professional deal after expressing their talent over the past two seasons; we have real belief in their ability.

"Dare has graduated from our scholarship programme, and while only still 17, he is another exciting young prospect.

"Kieran has had an unfortunate few years since his arrival from Dundee but represents a talented youngster who will get our support to get his career up and running."

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