Walsall Football Club are delighted to announce that midfielder Joe Willis has put pen to paper on his first professional contract.
The 18-year-old impressed last season in the Development squad under the watchful eyes of Assistant and Development Coach Brian Dutton and Under-18s manager Miguel Llera.
After impressing manager Darrell Clarke whilst training with the first team, Willis was handed his professional debut in the Leasing.com Trophy where he came on as a substitute against Portsmouth in January.
“I’m buzzing with you to be honest,” said Willis after he’d signed on the dotted line. “It’s a dream come true to sign my first professional contract and I’m just buzzing that I’ve managed to do it.
“Walsall is a great club for me to improve as a player and as a person as well and I can’t wait to get going next season.
“My first taste of senior football was massive for me personally, it gave me a buzz and I just can’t wait to get back out there again now.
“I have got to thank the manager for giving me the opportunity to have that buzz.”
And Willis admits that he is already looking forward to the upcoming season, despite the uncertainty around it at the moment, explaining that he wants to continue to show Darrell what he is all about.
“It’s going to be a big season next year. I’m really looking forward to it and I can’t wait to get back and keep working hard and show the gaffer what I am all about.
“Alfie (Bates) is a great example for me to mark myself against. I want to try and get as many games as he did. He has been a great example for everyone in the youth team because he has played so well in the first team.”
After rewarding Willis with his first professional contract, manager Clarke is keen to see just how far the teenager can go in the future.
"Joe has all the attributes to be a very good player in the future, great energy and technical ability with the right attitude, I’m looking forward to developing him even more next season."