Sheffield Wednesday academy duo Joe West and Ben Hughes have both signed their first professional contracts, committing their future to the club until the summer of 2019.
Full-back West and winger Hughes have both progressed into the Owls’ Under-23 squad this season and follow in the footsteps of fellow second-year apprentices Liam Waldock, Alex Hunt and Ciaran Brennan in turning professional with Wednesday.
West told the club website: “I’m over the moon, it’s just like a dream. As soon as I got my contract, I couldn’t believe it. As a young boy growing up, all you want to be is a professional footballer, so to sign my first professional deal here is amazing.
“I just can’t wait for next year, I want to come back and express myself, come back in pre-season in good nick and give myself a really good chance.
“I’ve loved my team here, all the coaches give you great support, I feel like I can go talk to any of them and they will help and support me in anything I need to do to get to the next level.
“There’s been so many opportunities for the Under-23s this season, a few Under-18s going up to train with the first-team and I want to be one of them next year. I’m going to work hard in the off-season and come back fresh and ready to go next year.”
Hughes, who was Wednesday’s top scorer in the Under-18s this season, said: “It’s overwhelming to sign my first professional contract, it’s what I’ve been working for all my life and it’s a big achievement for me and my family.
“I know it’s only the start of a big career for me, it’s important that I keep doing what I’ve been doing over the last year and keep striving for bigger and better things.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the players and the staff, I think it’s a great club and I enjoy coming into training every day and playing games for the Under-18s and 23s.
“It’s great that we have a manager that trusts young players and hopefully next year I can push myself towards the first team.
“I like to aim high, I’d like to be involved with the first team and make an appearance, but we’ll see, I’m just hoping to progress as much as I can. I can’t wait for what the future holds at this club.”
Meanwhile, Academy manager Steven Haslam added: “Since Ben started his scholarship he has really matured as a person and developed as a player as well.
“Obviously the offer of a professional contract is reward and recognition of his progress.
“Hopefully, as with all the other young players, he sees the opportunity that’s in front of him, grasps it, buys into everything that we are trying to get from the players and goes on to the next level and beyond.”