Five youth academy starlets have signed two-year, full-time professional contracts as they make the step up to John Sutton’s development squad next season.
Scotland schoolboy international Gavin Watt, Lewis McGrattan, Kieran Brophy, all 17, and 16-year-olds Shaun Rodgers and Jonathan Lyon put pen to paper during a special induction evening at Cappielow last night.
The talented quintet were influential in the Under-20s’ Development League West title success last term as regular starters in the run-in, and director of youth Derek Anderson has tipped them to excel with daily training.
Anderson told media officer Jonathan Mitchell: “This year’s Under-17s have been a strong group and we offered full-time contracts to Gavin Watt, Shaun Rodgers, Kieran Brophy, Jonathan Lyon, and Lewis McGrattan.
“Gavin has pace. In the modern game you need that, and he’s got it in abundance. He’s strong, he’s aggressive, and there has been interest in him from England. He’s got a great chance.
“You then speak about the two wide players. Young Rodgers was outstanding for the 17s this year, with the amount of goals he scored from playing through the centre and out wide.
“In the 20s we played him wide left and he’s just as effective there as he is in a central role. On the other side you’ve got young Brophy.
“You saw what he did against Airdrie – he was fantastic. He’s direct, he gets at people, but he’ll also put in a shift going back the way too.
“Johnny Lyon can play in the centre of midfield or on the right – all the boys we’ve signed are quite flexible in where they can play – and you’d be lucky to get a touch of a beachball in a telephone box against him.
“His control is fantastic, and one thing about him is that no matter how he is playing, how good or how bad, he will always take the ball. He’s very brave.
“Those four are kids we’ve had in the academy for the last five years, and it’s fantastic to see them come through and get an opportunity with Morton.
“The other lad is Lewis McGrattan, who we signed from Rangers last year. He came in and his attitude has been bang on, and he thoroughly deserves a contract.
“The five we have taken on played regularly for both the 17s and 20s. That bonus of playing for the Under-20s in the last 12 games will have been massive for their development.
“Now, the full-time training under the watchful eye of John Sutton can only be positive for these kids. They’ll be working with the ball every day, they’ll be at the gym … I think they’ll take to it like a duck to water, I really do.
“I’m excited for all five, and it’s not just them. The current crop, like Reece Lyon, Alexander Easdale, Lewis Strapp, Ben Eardley, Darren Hynes, Nathan Durham, Jack Purdue, and Daniel Farrell, mean it’s exciting times.”
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Image: Ross Cameron