Southampton have announced that young forward Benni Smales-Braithwaite has agreed terms on his first professional contract. The 17-year-old arrived from Manchester City last year and now has a contract at St Mary’s until 2022.
The striker forced his way into the Saints U18 team last season, registering two goals and four assists from his 19 appearances.
The forward said: “I feel extremely proud. It means a lot to me and my family to become a professional footballer, but this is just the start.
“It’s just the beginning for me; I can’t wait for the new season to start and to get back to playing football every day.
“It takes a while to settle when you move away from home, but the club have been really supportive and I’m delighted to have a future here.
“The staff here are great and I’m ready to work hard to try and make an impression.”
Ralph Hasenhuttl has been targeting strikers this summer as he revamps his squad. With only 14 league goals amongst his three senior strikers last season, the 17-year-old could be given a chance sooner than expected.
Saints fans were quick to send their congratulations and good luck wishes over Twitter…
#SaintsFC is pleased to confirm that exciting young forward Benni Smales-Braithwaite has signed his first professional deal:
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 28, 2019
who needs che adams when we have a talented lad like him. can’t wait to see him play ????
— ً (@sfcvkyle) June 28, 2019
One to watch this lad, gonna do big things!!!
— Peter daly (@Petedaly321) June 28, 2019
Nice one Benin, well deserved pal!
— Glen Brunt (@ActivateSP) June 28, 2019
Good luck for the future lad ????????
— Raziel (@Drexl_Raz) June 28, 2019
BSB looks like a free kick specialist. Some competition for JWP #saintsfc
— Issey Prada (@isseyprada) June 28, 2019
Not the exciting young forward we expected but congratulations to the lad #SaintsFC
— Saint Harris (@LHarrisSFC) June 28, 2019
The Club Shop are going to make a mint on shirts with his name on when he makes it to the big time ????
— ericofarabia (@ericofarabia) June 28, 2019
Top lad as well ????????????????
— Mathew Vincent (@MathewMraz) June 28, 2019