Jonathan Afolabi has been rewarded with a professional contract by English Premier League side, Southampton.
The 18-year-old striker born in Dublin to Nigerian parents signed what was his first pro contract on Sunday two years after joining the St. Mary’s Stadium outfit in 2016
Afolabi is one of the eight youngsters that got pro deals with Southampton on Sunday.
“I’m delighted to sign my professional deal at Southampton Football Club. It’s a great club to be at, great facility and they have a great philosophy,” Afolabi told Goal.
“Down the years, many youngsters have gone through the system and gotten to the first team so we are here, everyone probably hoping to follow in their footsteps.”
Though Afolabi is representing Ireland presently; playing for their U-19 team, he remains eligible to switch allegiance to represent Nigeria If he so desires.
On his target for the upcoming season, the left-footed striker told Goal.com he hopes to score as many goals as possible for Southampton’s U-23 team and possibly get a look-in for the first team
“My target this season would be to cement a place in the U23 team and get goals as much as possible and then try and showcase myself in the first team,” he continued.
“I’ll be willing to play down the middle – as a centre-forward.
“In the middle; that’s where I feel I can show all my talent and all my traits. But if I was asked to play out wide, I won’t mind either because I’ll be willing to play in a more disciplined role for the team and I’d be glad to help in any way I can.”
Apart from Afolabi, the other youngsters that signed pro deals with Southampton on Sunday are goalkeeper Jack Rose, defender Aaron O’Driscoll, and midfielders Harlem Hale, Harry Hamblin and Tyreke Johnson.
The others are goalkeeper Kingsley Latham and striker Dan N’Lundulu.