Nottingham Forest have confirmed that 17-year-old defender James Clarridge has signed his first professional contract with the club.
The teenager has been part of the Reds academy system for a decade and has developed through the club’s youth sides.
Clarridge is yet to make his senior debut for Forest but he’s clearly a player that is highly rated at the City Ground as he’s now been handed his first professional contract.
The East Midlands club confirmed the news today, on the back of a season that has seen him featuring regularly for the U18s and U23s, as well as getting the nod for the England U17s.
“This is a really big step for me and I’m excited to continue my time with the club,” Clarridge told the club website.
“I’ve been with Forest since I was 6-7 years old after being spotted playing for my local team and I’ve managed to work my way through the ranks over the years.
“I feel I’ve developed a lot, especially over the last year since becoming a full-time scholar and the attributes we have around the academy are really useful for me as a player.
“You look at the first-team and see the likes of Joe Worrall who followed a similar pathway to myself, and it’s good to know that those opportunities will be there if I can reach those sorts of levels and he’s someone that I really look up to.”
It is understood that Clarridge is a modern centre-back, capable of bringing the ball out of defence, and has the potential to be a future leader.
According to The Athletic, the club expected him to be battling for a chance to train with the first-team squad by the end of 2020/21 and to have a greater involvement next term.
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This announcement is further proof of just how highly rated Clarridge is at Forest.
The 17-year-old seems to be someone that the Reds believe can be a future first-team player and with that in mind, this is certainly a good move for the East Midlands club.
It’s a milestone moment in the teenager’s Forest career but, hopefully, this is just the start.
We’ve seen academy products like Alex Mighten flourish in the senior side this season and Clarridge will be hoping to follow in his footsteps.