Burnley youngsters sign professional deals

ONE YEAR DEAL: Jack Errington (right)
ONE YEAR DEAL: Jack Errington (right)
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Six more members of the Clarets’ squad which reached the last four of the FA Youth Cup have been rewarded with their first professional deals at Turf Moor.

Seventeen-year-old central defender Jack Errington has signed a one-year deal to follow fellow first-year scholars Cameron Howieson and Luke Conlan in being fast-tracked into the professional ranks.

Winger Adam Evans and full-back Aryn Williams also put pen to paper on one-year contracts, while Tom Anderson, Alex Coleman and Archie Love have agreed 12-month deals.

With midfielder Stevie Hewitt already signed up on a two-year deal, the bulk of the squad which finished runners-up in the Youth Alliance North West Division are on professional contracts.

“When you talk about the criteria you measure the performance and success of youth departments by, I think one of the key indicators is the lads who progress on to get professional contracts,” said Clarets’ Academy Manager Jason Blake.

“And any year-group when you are taking this number of players is an exceptional intake.

“There is no requirement on numbers. They have warranted contracts. It’s not fortune, it’s not luck.

“It’s warranted and deserved for each individual.”

The graduates of Terry Pashley’s side, which lost 1-0 to Preston in last week’s final of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup, will move on to form the core of an enlarged Development Squad under the guidance of Blake, although Howieson, Conlan and Errington will still be eligible to play for the under-18s next season.

And Blake will them set them a target of senior football after Hewitt, McCartan and Howieson all made Championship debuts under first-team boss Eddie Howe towards the end of the season.

Blake added: “The ambition of getting a pro contract can only be part of a stage of the journey. The ambition has got to be to be a regular on the first-team pitch.

“This is just a stage and it’s very important now that the players enjoy the summer. It’s been a long season for them with a lot of games with the cup run and populating the reserve team as well.

“When they come back next year it’s a different set of criteria for them to try and achieve and the key thing is for them to push themselves into the first-team environment as quickly as possible.

“I think the manager has shown his intent at the back end of the season by giving them inclusion in the first-team squad and game time as well.

“Knowing Eddie it’s not something he would do just to publicise the department.

“It’s something he would do that would be recognition of the performance and the application of the individual players involved.”

Meanwhile, goalkeepers Ben Woodhead and Josh Cook and midfielder Alex Mullin are to be released, having reached the end of their scholarship deals.

From the professional ranks, midfielders Alex-Ray Harvey and Joe McKee are also being released to join Dominic Knowles, Neil Yadolahi, David Lynch and Ross Wilson, who were previously told they would not be offered new deals.