Sam Perry signs first professional Walsall deal
Sam Perry has signed his first professional contract with Walsall, becoming the second player to commit to a deal this summer.
The 18-year-old midfielder has followed in the footsteps of fellow youngster Joe Willis – after the pair were both offered contracts in mid-May.
Perry made his debut in January in an EFL Trophy clash with Portsmouth, starting and playing 90 minutes in an impressive display – picking up man of the match for his performance.
Now, after putting pen to paper on his first professional deal, the midfielder is looking ahead to the 2020/21 season as he aims to fight for first team opportunities.
“I’m very happy to get it over the line,” Perry said via the club's channels.
“I am just hoping that the season can start soon and I can push on really and hopefully get some league starts under my belt and hopefully the team can finish high this season.
“I definitely want more first team action this season, it’s what I am aiming for.
"I just want to be on the pitch playing games for the first team and hopefully I can establish a place in the team.
“Having had a taste of first team action last season it makes me more hungry and determined to get more now.
“Making my debut last season and getting man of the match made me want to play even more but I had a little set back with a minor injury but I’m all good now, so hopefully in the new season I can start getting some more game time and push on.”
Before he earned his first team chance last season, Perry had impressed for the development squad and under-18s – and he's now heaped praise on under-18s manager Miguel Llera for his work in developing him.
“Miguel was brilliant last season. From my time in football, I’d have to say that he has been the best coach that I have worked with," Perry added.
“He has pushed me on as a player so much this year from the start when he came in and then to the end when he believed in me and pushed me even further.”
Manager Darrell Clarke has called on both Perry and Willis to take inspiration from Alfie Bates and his burst into the first team last season – calling on Perry to take on the challenge.
"Sam is a fantastic young prospect and somebody who grew a lot last season topped of by one of the best debuts I’ve seen from a young scholar in our game against Portsmouth in the EFL Trophy," Clarke said.
"I've been really impressed with him on the whole and now it’s on to the next challenge of his career and that’s by working hard to try become a first team regular – I’m sure he will rise to the challenge.”