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Manager Eddie Howe pleased to offer seven academy scholars first professional contracts

Posted: Tue 01 Mar 2016

Manager Eddie Howe says he is delighted that the club have offered seven youngsters professional contracts, but has warned them that the hard work starts now.

Second year scholars Callum Stanton, Ollie Harfield, Matt Worthington, Sam Surridge and Matt Neale were all awarded year-long professional contracts whilst first years Keelan O’Connell and Corey Jordan have also been offered terms.
And whilst Howe, who was involved in the decision on which players to offer contracts to, was keen to pass on his congratulations, he also moved quickly to remind them of the task ahead of them.
"We are really pleased to offer the next generation of footballers contracts," Howe told
"It will be an important test for them to progress from the youth to the professional ranks.
"It is a huge step but we wish them well for the start of their journey.
"You see a lot of players that are given a contract from youth to professional but at the moment, the hardest step to take in English football is from development squad to first team.
"They’re in a great position to learn and progress. We are lucky we have some first class coaches that will push them, guide them and teach them to play our way.
"Ultimately its down to the players themselves to push themselves, even when the coaches aren’t there, to new levels.
"If I can give them any advice, that's what we're here for."
A Cherries academy graduate himself, Howe also added that despite the dramatic change in fortunes of the club in recent years, as manager he is still keen to bring as many young players through the ranks as possible.
"It’s a huge moment for any player to get their first professional contract," he added.
"That’s always the dream as a little boy - to say that you’re a professional footballer.
"They’ve made that journey now, but now they will want to make appearances and play for the club.
"I’d like nothing more than get more players through the system here into the first team, so hopefully we can do that."