Neil McDonald claims the signing of Bright Osayi-Samuel shows things are changing at Blackpool.
The 17-year-old signed a two-year professional contract this week after a summer of talks after he turned down the club’s first offer.
After recent history of losing some of their youth team graduates to rival clubs, with Mark Waddington and Dom Telford both quitting last month to join Stoke, there was growing concerns Osayi-Samuel could be the latest after a number of eye catching performances in the first team.
But McDonald appears determined to make that sort of issue a thing of the past.
“One or two youngsters have left but hopefully this is a sign now that they are going to stay and play some games,” said the Pool boss.
“Before I got here two young lads left and Bright’s been the next young lad to come through, along with Henry Cameron.
“Both are now in the team and that’s great.”
Osayi-Samuel has played in all of Pool’s game so far this season and has been one of the club’s more productive player.
He played six times at the end of last season after being promoted from the youth system, but is yet to win in a Pool shirt.
McDonald added: “This deal is fully deserved, he’s shown me in pre-season and in the games we’ve played so far that this is the right place for him.
“He’s ahead of schedule and has been involved with the first-team all pre-season since I’ve been here.
“He’s got himself in the team and whether you’re 16, 17, 18 or 19, you’ll play if you’re good enough.”
Osayi-Samuel’s progression has been aided by former youth team boss Richie Kyle who is now working as Blackpool’s assistant manager.
And the Londoner was full of praise for the coach, and spoke of his delight to sign a new deal.
“I’m really pleased to commit my future to the club and I’d like to thank the manager and Richie Kyle for the faith they’ve shown in me,” Osayi-Samuel said.
He continued: “The manager was a big influence in my decision to stay, convincing me that this is the best place for me to continue my development as a player.”
Osayi-Samuel first broke into the first-team picture last season when he made his debut off the bench against Sheffield Wednesday in March, having previously impressed for the youth team.
“The experience I’ve picked up so far has been brilliant and I’m determined to keep improving and help the team achieve the right results on the pitch.
“I’d also like to say a big thank-you to all the fans for their support. Hopefully I can show my continued appreciation in my performances.”