A Tunstall teenager has signed for Middlesbrough FC.
Josh Coburn, a former student at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, has signed a pro deal with the club.
The 18-year-old striker from Tunstall took up a coveted place at Middlesbrough Football Academy in September 2019.
Academy manager Craig Liddle said: “Josh joined us from Sunderland at U16 level.
“He’s six-foot three, has an eye for goal, and has had an impressive 18 months. He’s really developed well physically and technically.
“He is a great example of what a good attitude, hard work, and application can bring. He can also look up to the first team players who have progressed from the Academy as a great example of what can be achieved.”
First team boss Neil Warnock added: “The Boro Academy is the best I’ve come across during my 40 years in management.”
Josh showed tremendous potential on the pitch from an early age and stood out as a star player during his time at Richmond School.
He was scouted by championship team Middlesbrough after playing for Sunderland for five years, balancing both football and his studies.
Josh was offered the highly-sought-after scholarship after a demanding training programme which led to him playing for the Middlesboro U18 squad.
Josh has spent the last 18 months focusing on football as well as studying for a BTEC course.
Josh had one ambition after leaving school and that was to achieve a professional contract to be a full-time player for Middlesbrough.
Josh said: “I am over the moon that I have been offered the professional contract.
“The scholarship programme has been exactly what I hoped for and has really developed my skills as well as broadening my understanding of playing at club level and emphasising the importance of teamwork.
“In spite of all the challenges of Covid, the support and encouragement from the academy have been amazing.
“I have benefited hugely from the extensive knowledge and experience of the staff. I have been playing football for over 12 years and the opportunities to play at area and county level whilst at school, as well as leading the school teams have proved to be invaluable in my development as a player.
“I would like to thank all the PE staff at Richmond School for believing in me and for their unfaltering support over the years.”
Jenna Potter, headteacher at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, said: “I am absolutely thrilled for Josh, but it comes as no surprise, I was never in any doubt that he would achieve his dream of being offered a professional contract.
“Throughout his time with us, Josh developed not only as an exceptional sportsman but also matured as a polite, considerate young man who had boundless enthusiasm and drive, as well as an incredibly strong work ethic.”