Sam Gallagher has signed a long-term contract extension, Southampton Football Club is pleased to announce.
The 18-year-old striker has agreed a new deal that will keep him at St Mary’s until the summer of 2018.
Gallagher’s contract comes at the end of what has been his breakthrough season, having battled his way into the First Team after beginning the campaign with Saints’ Under-18 side.
The former Plymouth man has racked 19 senior appearances this season since breaking into the squad for the Capital One Cup defeat to Sunderland last November.
His first professional goal came on his sixth substitute appearance as he rounded off an FA Cup win over Yeovil in January, earning him a Barclays Premier League start against Arsenal a few days later.
Gallagher’s first league goal arrived in mid-March, in a 4-2 victory over Norwich at St Mary’s, and he has racked up further starts in the side’s recent back-to-back wins over Everton and Swansea.
“It’s been a big year for me and this just tops it off, really,” said the frontman, who has been with Saints since joining as a 16-year-old in 2012.
“I’m very happy and very proud. I won’t forget this day.
“This is a bit different from signing your first professional contract – everyone talks about this [contract] being a lot harder to get, so I’m very, very happy.
“This time last year I’d have never really thought I’d be getting this contract yet. I thought I’d have to battle it out to get one, but this gives me that bit of security so I know that, if I can keep going, the Club will repay me.
“I don’t really think I’ve had time to think about how far I’ve come this year,” Gallagher continued, “but there is the odd moment where I think: ‘wow, who’d have thought I’d be playing in Premier League games?’
“I’m still getting a lot of experience, even from training and being around everyone.
“Now it’ll be good to see how I push on next season. I’m looking forward to pre-season because it’s my first one with the First Team.
“I don’t really know what to expect, but I’ve seen pictures from last year so I know it’s going to be tough!
“I know I’m going to have to work hard, but hopefully it will all pay off.”