Everton youngster Liam Walsh has signed his first professional contract which will keep him at the Club until the end of the 2016/17 season.
The 17-year-old midfielder has been a regular for both the Under-18s and Under-21s so far this campaign, having been within the Blues’ academy for 12 years.
And Walsh, who was born in Huyton but is also eligible to represent Italy, says he was delighted to put pen to paper.
“It's everything that I wanted ever since I started playing football,” he told evertontv. “Obviously, signing a professional contract takes me closer to where I want to be which is with the first team.
“I'm buzzing to sign my first one and hopefully there is many more to come.
“I'm trying to get better every season. This season has been great as an Under-18s player playing for the Under-21s regularly and being around the first team.
“I'm looking to push on even further now before the end of the season and into the next one.”
Joining the Toffees as a five-year-old, Walsh says he is proud to now call the Blues’ senior stars his teammates.
Seamus Coleman dropped in to congratulate the youngster on his first senior deal – and Walsh says it was a move that is typical of the collective team spirit within the squad.
He added: “I joined at a very young age and I've always played a year above my age group, so every game has been a challenge for me.
“But I think I have lived up to those challenges and I think I challenge myself well because I always make sure I have a goal or an objective that I want to try and meet towards the end of each season.
“I love speaking to the [first team] players. Obviously, the fans are always happy to speak to them, get pictures with them and things like that - but I'm lucky to be a part of the same team as them.
“They talk to us around the training ground, like Seamus who said he was made up for me. It's nice to see that they take an interest in what we have to offer as well.”