Oldham Athletic starlet Benny Couto penned his first professional contract on Friday, agreeing a three-year deal with the League Two outfit.
The talented left-back recently made his professional debut against fellow Sky Bet League Two side Salford City in the EFL Trophy, and played a major role in Oldham’s victory and clean sheet.
Born in Portugal, the 18-year-old impressed the coaching staff at Boundary Park with his performances for the Youth Team.
Since then, the defender has gone on to make two senior appearances, claiming plaudits for his mature performance in the Greater Manchester derby at Spotland in September, where he set up Davis Keillor-Dunn’s winning goal.
“It’s a dream come true to sign a pro contract and it’s a very proud day for my family and friends,” Couto told the club website. “I’m buzzing that I’ve been given an opportunity in the first team and that the gaffer has shown faith in myself. I just want to thank everyone for their support to get me to this point.”
Head Coach Keith Curle spoke of his delight at seeing another academy product make the step up into the first-team: “I’ve seen Benny mature over the summer and he’s a real asset to the team. He’s taken his chance and it was only right we showed real faith in his ability as the current crop of youngsters making their way through are a real credit to the football club and its supporters.
“He follows in the footsteps of the likes of Junior, Vani, Will and Harry who have all adapted well to our training and playing methods and as a club we’re excited to see their continued development over the coming season.”
Interim Head of Academy Conor Marlin added: “Benny’s development has been a really positive in many ways, firstly with our Head of Recruitment Paul Ogden identifying him at U16 and the potential to convert him to a left back and then our coaching team to teach him the game.
“Ultimately his attitude and desire to be successful has seen him progress very well over the last few months and now he looks the part in our first team and we hope he will have a bright future in the game.”