Youngster ready to work hard...THE FANTASTIC progress made by youth team striker, Amadou Bakayoko, this year has culminated with him landing a professional contract for 2014/15.
The 17 year-old has been in a rich vein of scoring form for both the reserve and youth teams so far this term, whilst working extremely hard on the training ground.
"I was playing Sunday football and got picked up a little later than the rest of the lads in my age group," admitted the talented youngster who takes inspiration from Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku. "I have worked extremely hard since I've been here and there is a big difference in me since I first arrived at the club.
"Credit for this must go to Neil Woods, Graham Biggs and the rest of the youth staff who have really helped me, whilst my mum and sister have been a massive influence and helped me to concentrate on my football.
"I am delighted to get this chance to prove something and make my family proud of me. It is also an honour to be the first in my age group to get offered a professional contract and I intend to make the most of it.
"The hard work really starts now, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I have already trained with the first-team on occasions and know that being in that environment will help me continue to progress and develop both as a player and a person."
So what does Bakayoko feel are his main attributes? "I feel that scoring goals is my main strength," he added. "I also feel that I can hold the ball up well and have good movement.
"I want to keep improving all aspects of my game and the only way I am going to do that is by putting the effort in and working hard day in, day out.
"One of the good things about this club is that if you are good enough, you're chance will come regardless of age and I intend to take advantage of this and show people what I am capable of."
Manager, Dean Smith, is delighted that the emerging goal-getter has committed his future to The Saddlers.
"He deserves this early offer because of the way he has developed so quickly and the progress he has made in a relatively short period of time," he said. "The progress that he has made has been fantastic; I've watched him a number of times for the youth team and have been impressed by what I have seen.
"He has trained with the first-team on a few occasions and I've also received plenty of positive feedback from Neil Woods and the youth staff.
"Importantly the lad has a good attitude and work ethic, which will stand him in good stead for what lies ahead and I will be looking for him to continue the rapid progression that he has made."