HIGHLY-rated Hartlepool midfielder Harry Chapman has signed his first professional contract with Middlesbrough.
The 17-year-old is a product of the academy at the Championship outfit and boss Aitor Karanka was keen to secure his future.
Hartlepool-born Chapman, an attack-minded midfielder who was just six when he started at one of Boro’s development centres, is delighted to have put pen to paper.
“This is a big thrill and hopefully just the start for me,” said the former Dyke House Sports and Technology College student.
“My mam and dad, they are the first people I should thank, then Alec Hewitt who scouted me.
“Dave Parnaby and all the coaches here at Middlesbrough have been really helpful and it means a lot.
“Everyone knows how good the club is in helping young players, I’m in a good place and I’m really thankful for the chance I’ve been given.”
Chapman, who looks after the boots of Adam Clayton in his academy role, is a big admirer of Adam Reach.
He added: “I suppose I admire the way Adam Reach plays and the route he has taken to get where he is, I play a similar way to him.
“But everyone is very helpful, the head coach is really good and everyone talks to you and offers encouragement.
“I’d like to get into the U21s and stay there before the end of the season and although I’ve been on standby-by for the England U18 team, I’d like to be included at that level too.
“Eventually I’d love to play for Boro’s first team of course,” added the excited teenager.