Luton Town have announced that first-year youth team midfielder Tyreeq Bakinson has penned a three-and-a-half-year professional contract with the club.
The 17-year-old central midfielder joined the Hatters as an U10 and only signed full-time scholarship terms last summer.
Although born in London, Bakinson lives in Luton, where he walks to training every day and has been a regular for Paul Driver’s U18s this season.
Bakinson has already been given experience in the Hatters’ development squad this year and travelled with the first team for the League Two fixture at AFC Wimbledon last month, where he was involved in the pre-match warm-up.
He has scored six goals from central midfield this term and has been a driving force behind the youth team’s successful campaign which has seen Driver’s side reach the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.
First team boss Nathan Jones told the club’s official website: “Tyreeq fits the profile of the kind of player we like. He’s got the ability, the fitness, the hunger, he’s disciplined, he wants to learn and we feel he can get better.
“We’re delighted and excited to have tied him down to a professional contract and believe if his development continues then he’s a player who could jump into the first team and be an important player for us in the future.
“We want a pathway from the youth team to the first team here and he’s been part and parcel of a fantastic youth team this season so this is also reward for that.”
Academy and development manager Andy Awford continued: “It’s rare for a player in the first year of their scholarship to sign professional but in football you are rewarded for your efforts, and Tyreeq has played an important role in a successful season for the youth team.
“It’s a small step on a long ladder to becoming a regular first team player, but with his attitude we are hopeful he can fulfil his potential.”
Meanwhile, youth boss Driver added: “He’s been with us since he was an U10 and worked his way up.
“His younger brother, Jaheim, is in the academy too, and they are Luton through and through.
“Tyreeq is a respectful kid, he’s always smiling and always instigates conversation with first team players and staff.”
“If his development continues then he’s a player who could jump into the first team and be an important player for us in the future.”Nathan Jones