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SIGNED | Aaron James signs first professional contract

Defender is fifth youth player to sign pro terms

10 December 2021

Wrexham AFC are pleased to announce Aaron James has signed his first professional contract with the Football Club.

Defender James, 16, follows Wrexham AFC Youth team-mates Tom Jenkins, Will Mountfield, Dan Jones and Kai Evans in signing his first professional contract with the club – each having signed 18-month contracts.

And on penning a professional deal, he said: “It’s really exciting. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved over the last couple of years.

“Half of my family is Welsh so they’re really proud that I’ve signed at a Welsh club, and I’m really proud of myself to have achieved so much.

“I’ve been with Wrexham for four or five years, and moving to the youth team was especially good – I’ve enjoyed working with Dan Nolan – and then I’ve been with the first-team group a lot this year as well.

“The first-team players have been really helpful, and it’s really improved how I play having been with them. Phil and Steve have been very good with us and I really enjoy it here.”

Speaking on the decision to offer pro contracts to five youth players, first-team manager Phil Parkinson has said: “I think it’s a great indication from the co-chairmen that they want to build the youth structure going forward.

“There’s been a lot going at the Club as everyone knows, in all departments, and this proves to the players in the youth setup that they’ve not been forgotten. There are plans to improve the youth setup and we are working towards that - but what is key, is to keep the best players.

“Ultimately we would like to have an under-23/B team and arrange regular fixtures for them, but to do that going forward we have to keep the core of the best players.

“Those talks have been ongoing over the last couple of weeks and we’ve decided to offer pro contracts to some of the players and secure their services. Now is the opportunity to welcome those players and integrate them into more competitive games.

“I remember the first game of the season, when we put Max Cleworth in the team and we discussed team selection. We felt it was good for the Club to give a young player an opportunity – and Max deserved it for his pre-season. You want to show the young players that there is an opportunity to play if they’re good enough.

“Now these young players have got pro contracts, it’s congratulations to them first of all – a lot of footballers set out at all age-group levels to become pro footballers, and it’s a very small percentage who get professional contracts.

“So that in itself is an achievement, but it is really just the first step on the ladder and the hard work really does start now. Now is the chance to step up, to push their way into our thinking and to edge towards the first team.”

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