Mansfield Town have tied up the futures of three second-year apprentices, with Ethan Hill, Nathan Caine and George Cooper all signing their first professional contracts.
The 18-year-olds were all part of Mansfield’s run to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup last season, and have been key performers for the club in the EFL Youth Alliance North East division, while striker Caine is the only one of the trio to make his senior debut, appearing in the Papa John’s Trophy in November.
Academy Manager Richard Cooper told the club website: “Ethan Hill is a very technically astute midfield player. He is a gifted midfield player and has an eye for a pass. He can build the play and he’s been in and around first-team training sessions already under Nigel Clough.
“Nathan Caine has an eye for goal and got his chance in the Papa John’s Trophy away at Scunthorpe earlier this season. He has scored some important goals for the academy throughout his scholarship. He’s a forward who can hurt defences by running in behind with his clever movement.
“George Cooper has been really consistent over the course of his scholarship in terms of his performances. He’s had that consistency at centre-back, and now he has the opportunity to go and show what he can do as a first-year pro. Coops is a solid defender and has been a leader for us at under-18 level.
“These three lads have been a real credit and have been a massive part of what we’ve tried to build in our first year as a Category 3 academy. They have done extremely well and we’re all proud of them. The lads now have something to build on and it’s up to them to get in front of the manager and show what they can do.”