First-year Saints Academy scholar Joshua Debayo has signed a professional contract with the Club.
The former Chelsea defender joined Southampton on a full-time basis in the summer and has already fast-tracked his development by switching from a left back to a centre half, a position he has played in all eight games of the Saints Under-18s team so far this season.
Debayo is a commanding figure at the back, who combines his athleticism with a good understanding of the game, something which has also seen him placed on standby for the England U18s in the current campaign.
Josh turned 17 years of age on Thursday which made him eligible to sign his professional contract, and having swapped Stamford Bridge for St Mary’s earlier this year, he told Saints Player that he was pleased with the progress he has made so far.
“I’m very delighted to have signed a professional contract here,” said Debayo. “It’s a brilliant club who have produced many players, and it’s the right club for me.
“It’s been really good here at Southampton,” he continued. “It’s a bit different to Chelsea, but I’m delighted to be here. The staff are good the players are really good and I can just carry on developing.
“I think I’ve been developing really well and I’m still getting used to a new position as centre back, but I think it’s been going well and I just want to carry on working hard and hopefully one day be in the First Team.
“This club gives loads of opportunities to young players, so you’ve got to show that you’re good enough really. If you show that you’re working hard you can progress because the First Team chances are there and one day you could play in front of 30,000 fans.
“It is hard to break in as a centre back, particularly as a youngster, because managers tend to play more experienced centre backs, but if you’re a good defender especially at this club, you’ll definitely get a look in.”
Debayo was joined by his extended family on signing and he thanked those close to him for the support that has taken him this far.
“They’ve been with me through thick and thin,” he highlighted. “They’re always watching me and always believing in me, so it’s brilliant, and I’m just trying to make them proud.
“I aim to just keep playing really. Hopefully we’ll go far in the Youth Cup this season which is coming up soon, and then personally I hope to get in the Development Squad to keep on developing as a player.”