Teen star Fabio Jalo has signed his first professional contract with Barnsley.
The 16-year-old striker was named Academy Player of the Year last season after top-scoring for the under 18s as a schoolboy, and featuring for the under 23s. Originally from Portugal, he has been on training camps with England youth teams.
Jalo – who was on the first team bench for Saturday's friendly with Nottingham Forest – had already committed to a two-year academy scholarship but has now signed a professional contract. The club have not announced the length of the deal.
Jalo told the club website: "It’s a great opportunity and I just have to enjoy it. Being named Academy Player of the Season was a big step for me, due to my work, and I just want to achieve more goals and more trophies this season.”
Academy Manager Bobby Hassell added: “There’s obviously been a lot of interest from bigger clubs. I’ve had to do a lot of travelling to see his family in Leeds and they know that this is the right club for his pathway in terms of getting into a first team.
“It’s very hard to predict talent and where they’re going to go – I don’t want to overhype him because he’s a 16-year-old, at the end of the day. Loss of form and coming into full-time training can affect them differently, injuries can hinder development.
“He’s got the right attitude, and that’s the key. It’s not so much the talent that lets them down, it’s that ability, consistency and hunger. He’s got hunger in abundance, he’s a fighter as well and he’s got a carefree attitude.”