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Four Academy Prospects sign their first pro contracts

Academy and 1st team both get a boost to their ranks

Arsenal v Manchester City: FA Youth Cup Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Some good news for both Parky and David Lee as 4 of the players who helped the U23’s to the win the title against Nottingham Forest have been offered their first professional contracts by the club. Jack Earing, Chiori Johnson, Stephen McKenna and Joe Pritchard are the names and anyone familiar with the academy will know that the latter 3 names have been on trial with Bolton for the past few months.

Starting off with the most familiar name to Bolton fans, 19 year old Jack Earing has signed his first professional terms having already made his first team debut back in 2016 in the Checkatrade Trophy against Everton. More notably however, he featured for Bolton against Crewe Alexandra due to the club being placed under a squad restriction of 23 for contracted players. With that ruling out Alex Perry and Jeff King at the time, Earing came in and put in a respectable performance in the middle of the park. Having been a regular in David Lee’s side, can the young man make the step up to the first team with the centre midfield position looking quite thin at the moment.

The other names were all trialists who featured in the last few games of the run-in for the U23’s. Chiori Johnson is a right back, though apparently capable to play all across the back line, who was previously on the books of the famous Arsenal Academy who have produced the likes of Jack Wilshere, Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerin in recent years.

Stephen McKenna is the youngest of the trialist trio who is himself versatile being able to play across the front-line. His biggest contribution so far was the first goal in victory against Forest. Previously of Everton, the 17 year old has time on his side to climb the ranks but the early professional contract could be a sign of high potential. Perhaps one to keep an eye on over the next couple of years.

Last but not least is Joe Pritchard. The midfielder served 14 years climbing the ranks at Tottenham even captaining the side on numerous occasions before now making the move to the mighty Wanderers. At 21, Joe will be looking to try and break through the academy to challenge for a place in the first team this coming season.

We here at the Lion of Vienna Suite wish all the best to the youngsters for the upcoming season.