In-demand West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Josh Griffiths has signed a new four-year deal at the Hawthorns.
Griffiths has been with the club since the age of 10 and has developed through the academy system.
The teenager has never represented the Baggies first-team but has featured for the under-18 and under-23 sides this season.
Griffiths, who has just returned from international duty with the England under-20s, trained with the first-team throughout pre-season and appears to have impressed a number of the senior players in the past.
Sporting and technical director Luke Dowling told the club website: “When you hear Dwight Gayle complaining he can never beat him and Jake Livermore checking on whether we have got him tied down on a contract, you know you’ve got a talent on your hands.”
Senior goalkeeping coach Gary Walsh added: “The biggest compliment I can pay him is that I keep forgetting he’s 18. His potential is there for us all to see–but now he has got to keep working and I am sure he will do.”
The six-foot-six shot-stopper said he was “delighted” to sign a new contract with the club and indicated that working with the first-team goalkeepers had been a real boost.
He said: “It’s been a fantastic learning curve for me working with the senior keepers.
“Training alongside Sam, Bondy and now Ali is tremendous and they are always willing to help me progress.”
This looks like a really smart bit of business for the Baggies.
Griffiths is clearly a highly-rated young player, as both players and coaches have heaped praise on him, so tying him down to a long-term deal is great for the club.
Dowling has suggested that at least one Premier League side was trying to poach the 18-year-old and after seeing young talents Louie Barry and Morgan Rogers leave this summer it appears they were determined to ensure the goalkeeper doesn’t follow in their footsteps.