Southampton Football Club is pleased to announce Diamond Edwards, Ryan Finnigan, Jeremi Rodriguez and Fedel Ross-Lang have all signed their first professional contracts.
Rodriguez and Ross-Lang joined the club in the summer, whilst Edwards was a 2019 acquisition from Reading and Finnigan’s life at Southampton started out in the academy at the age of nine.
The four players, all 17 years of age, have been a key part of Paul Hardyman’s Under-18s side this season and will sign three-year contracts that run until 2023.
Finnigan, who hails as a central midfielder, said: “It’s a great feeling, a very proud moment for me and my family.
“I’ve worked hard for this ever since I joined the club and hopefully it’s the first of many deals.
“There’s a real sense of togetherness here, a real drive to get the young lads to the top and hopefully I can be a part of that.”
Winger Ross-Lang shared Finnigan’s views, adding: “It’s a real proud moment for me. A huge personal achievement but it’s just a small step and I’m ready to progress onto bigger and better things.
“The facilities really impressed me here, as well as the philosophy of the club and the way it’s progressing, especially in the Premier League."
The midfielder, who joined Saints in the summer from Manchester City’s academy, is already looking to make that next step.
“My target is to push on to Under-23s level, as well as show everyone at the club what I’m capable of and what I can do.”
Next to sign was Edwards, who joined the club in July 2019 from Reading’s academy and featured heavily for the Under-16s last season.
“I’m delighted,” he said. “I just really enjoy being part of a family. I really like how Saints is very family orientated.
“They really trust in the youth. There’s a lot of chemistry between the staff and the players around campus which is really good.
“Now I just want to play consistently well and possibly get into the Under-23s setup going forward.”
Finally, Spaniard Jeremi Rodriguez, a summer recruit from Las Palmas who plays at left-back, said: “It’s the biggest step in my career. I feel really happy and my family are very proud.
“I like the facilities and the classes we have. I now want to push on and play for the B team.
Academy Director Matt Hale congratulated the four youngsters on their achievement.
“Ryan has been through our pathway from a very early age and is a fine example of our Southampton Way model," he commented.
"He is not only an excellent player with high potential but emulates our club ethos and values and plays with a maturity well above his years.
"With Diamond, Fedel and Jeremi, we have worked hard through our recruitment work to bring these talented players to the football club.
"All three of them began their full time programme with us this year and look to be promising young talent that can have an exciting future."