Championship outfit Peterborough United have tied attacking midfielder Kellan Hickinson down to a two-year professional contract.
The 18-year-old committed his future to the club on Friday morning at the idverde training facility after impressing the first-team coaching staff with his performances for the Under-18 and Under-23 sides this season.
It was a proud moment for the youngster, who joined Posh’s academy as a nine-year-old. Speaking to the club website, Hickinson said: “I am really pleased. It is a proud moment for me and my family. When I told my Mum she got a little bit emotional. I have been here a long time, coming through each age group and to be here now signing a professional contract is amazing. It doesn’t feel 10 years since I joined, the time has flown by.
“It has been brilliant to learn from some great coaches throughout my time so far. Matthew Etherington, Simon Davies and Jamal Campbell-Ryce have played at the highest level, so to spend time with them on the training pitch is only going to benefit me.
“I like to think that I thrive under pressure, so playing as a number 10, I want to get on the ball and make things happen. I know in that particular position on the pitch you are judged on how many goals and assists that you are involved in and that is my target this season, to continue to contribute and hopefully play regular football in the under 23s.”
The news comes after Peterborough United attained a Category Two status for their academy earlier this year, allowing the club to further enhance their facilities and recruit more staff to aid the development of the youngsters.
The advantages of the rise in status has already had a positive impact, with Harrison Burrows the most notable academy graduate currently thriving under Darren Ferguson’s management.
Commenting on the deal, Academy Manager Kieran Scarff said: “Kellan has very much earned his contract. He has been with us since under 9s. Kellan has always had loads of ability, he is starting to show maturity and consistency in his performances and not just on match days, every day he is doing things right and that is making an impact on his displays.
“At under 18 level, he has been the best player on the pitch on so many occasions and we are excited by the progress he is making. As always, there is always improvement, but we feel he has a good future providing he maintains those standards.”