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22 June 2016

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Midfielder is second youth teamer in as many days to go pro

Talented midfielder Alex Atkinson became the second Hatters youngster in as many days to sign his first professional contract at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

The 18-year-old followed goalkeeper Liam Gooch’s footsteps up to the Trophy Room, accompanied by his dad Trevor, to put pen to paper as reward for his performances in last season’s Under-18s’ Football League Youth Alliance double success and run to the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals.

Atkinson, who joined the Town’s academy at Under-15s after previously playing for Fulham and Wycombe Wanderers as a schoolboy, told “This is a day I've wanted so much, but the hard work starts now for me.

“I've always wanted to be a professional footballer but I know I've achieved nothing yet. I can't wait to get in on Friday and start getting used to the training and demands expected of me. 

“It's a big step up but I feel ready to prove myself. It's something to embrace.”

Hatters academy and development manager Andy Awford said: “Like with Liam, the potential is there with Alex, it just needs drawing out of him.

“This is a good opportunity for him to come into a professional environment, where the attitude is that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

“He played his part in the youth team’s success last season and fully deserves his chance.”

Atkinson saw fellow youth teamers Frankie Musonda, James Justin and Tyreeq Bakinson introduced to League Two action by Hatters boss Nathan Jones at the end of last season, after sealing the South-East Division title and lifting the Football League Youth Alliance Cup.

As he looked out over the Kenilworth Road pitch, Atkinson added: “I saw the lads given a chance in the first team at the end of last season and it was great, but I wanted to be out there with them. That's my goal now.

“I got to play on here a couple of times in the cup runs, which was a fantastic experience, although my personal highlight was scoring the penalty up at Preston, because I hadn't had a great game but it meant I'd played a big part in getting us to the quarter-final of the Youth Cup against Blackurn.

“It was great to be involved in a fantastic team, and it’s always nice to hear Andy say good things about me, because I respect him so much for what he’s achieved in the game.

“Winning the double was fantastic, but now I've got to go again at a different level.”

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