Malvind Benning today signed a new two-and-a-half year deal at Walsall as the Saddlers kept to their contract promise.
The left-back has broken into the side this season and made his second league start of the season in Friday’s 2-0 win over Portsmouth.
Manager Dean Smith confirmed last month he had opened talks with some players who were out of contract at the end of the season and Benning is the first to be tied down.
Benning said: “At the start of the season, I wanted to establish myself and do well for the reserves, but things have gone really well so far and to get my chance in the first-team at this stage of my career has exceeded my expectations.
“I have been pleased with my performances so far. Each game has been a learning curve for me, but I’d like to think that I have proved what I am capable of.
“It’s not often that a first-year professional gets handed such a deal after just a handful of first-team games. I know that the hard work is only just starting for me and hopefully I can get a run in the team and continue to make progress.
“Walsall have a reputation for bringing through young, local talent and the fact that so many of the first-team squad have come through the ranks here made it easier for me to settle in and certainly helps with the spirit and togetherness.”
Smith has been keen to end the summer uncertainty and avoid a late contract scramble and is delighted to secure Benning.
The Saddlers boss said: “Mal is a great prospect for this club. I have known him since he was an under-15 player here and he has just got better and better during that time.
“He has taken the opportunity that has been given to him and showed that he can handle playing at this level.
“This new deal gives him a great chance to continue that progression. He has a fantastic attitude and I know that he will continue to work hard at his game.”