Exciting teenage prospect pens first senior deal with South Shields
Teenage prospect Sam Hodgson has signed his first senior contract with South Shields.
The striker, who has been a key part of the Mariners' academy side since joining in the summer of 2018, has committed his long-term future to the club just weeks after his 18th birthday.
Hodgson has starred in Shields' run to the second round of the FA Youth Cup in each of the last two seasons, with 12 goals in his 10 appearances in the competition.
He also made his debut for the first-team in last month's Durham Challenge Cup victory at Ryton and Crawcrook Albion, and he has now been rewarded for his talent and dedication.
Joint manager Graham Fenton said: "We're delighted that Sam has committed his long-term future to the club.
"He thoroughly deserves the faith that we are showing in him through his performances and application.
"Sam has proved to be a natural goalscorer, which are hard to find, and we're hoping that he continues his progression and manages to become our regular number nine in the future.
"We will endeavour to get him as many opportunities in the first-team as we can over the next few weeks and months to get him the experience at senior level he needs.
"There may also be opportunities to get him out on loan to gain that experience, but it's safe to say that we are really excited by Sam's future at the club."
Hodgson is in the second year of a Level 3 Sports and Performance course at Sunderland College, with his studies taking place in tandem with his football.
Head of Professional Development Jon Shaw said: "It's great to see a player like Sam getting opportunities and a contract at such an early stage.
"Sam thoroughly deserves the contract as in my short time with the Academy he has been outstanding.
"His goal record and all-round attitude to all parts of the course - both football and academic - as well as his contribution to the team have been brilliant.
"The next step for him is probably going to be the most difficult.
"He has got a contract and now has to knuckle down and prove he is worth a shirt in the first-team.
"Sam has a great support network around him, though.
"His family, coaches and everyone at the club are all in his corner trying to help him progress even further."
A full interview with Sam will be published on the club's YouTube channel later today.