Barnsley U18s captain Jonathan Bland has signed his first professional contract with the Oakwell club.
The defender, who made his senior debut for the League One side during an EFL Trophy fixture earlier this season has put pen-to-paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Bland played a vital role in Barnsley’s historic title winning campaign last season as the young Tykes were crowned Professional Development League North champions for the first time in the Club’s history.
The Wales youth international was rewarded for his impressive displays by being named as the Academy Player of the Season.
Speaking to Barnsley’s Website following his contract signing, Bland said: “I’m over the moon to be honest. It’s something that I’ve worked towards since I was a little kid, so when I got told I couldn’t really believe it and it’s not really sunk in yet, but I’m hoping it will soon.
“It’s a good stepping stone from where I was last year. I think I did really well last year, and the coaches were pleased with me, and the next step I wanted to do was to make my debut.
“I’d like to play as many under 21s minutes as I can and keep leading for the under 18s. I think that’s vital, just to get the experience. If I can play as many Saturday-Tuesday’s as possible, that would be amazing, and hopefully I’ll get another chance soon in the first team, whether that’s this season or next.
“I’ve just got to get my head down and keep working hard.”
Barnsley U18s Head Coach, Neill Collins added:
“Jonathan has shown a fantastic attitude to improve, which is vital if he is going to go on and have the career we think he is capable of.
“He shows composure beyond his years and his ability to play in different positions at such a young age is a testament to the ability he has.
“We are excited to have him commit to the Club and look forward to helping him reach his potential.”