Teenagers Shaun Mavididi, Ben Parkinson, and Ciaran Thompson have all signed their first professional contracts with Newcastle United.
Mavididi joined Newcastle from Arsenal's youth team in 2021 and has been a regular with Newcastle's under-18 side. He's aiming for a competitive under-21 debut this season and is excited about performing in the UEFA Youth League.
Speaking to NUFC.co.uk, he expressed his excitement about his first professional contract and is appreciative of the progress the club has been making. Despite being sidelined due to a hip fracture last season, he considers the FA Youth Cup win over Charlton as a personal highlight.
Parkinson, a striker who can also play on the wing, started with Newcastle's youth team at seven and had a successful 2022/23 season, scoring five goals and making two assists in 11 Under-18 Premier League games, as well as leading the team in the FA Youth Cup.
The boyhood Magpies supporter stated he's thrilled to sign his first professional contract with his club, noting that his highlights of last season included scoring goals in FA Youth Cup matches and scoring his first under-21s goal against Leeds in "a really tough match".
Blyth-born Thompson is a versatile defender who joined Newcastle's youth program at 13 and made his debut for the United’s second-string in February. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of Elliot Anderson in making the journey from Academy to first-team, with a loan to a League Two club on the horizon for him.
He mentioned that his career to date at his boyhood club, marked by highs and lows, has led him to the special moment of signing his first professional contract with his childhood club. His highlights of the 2022/23 campaign were making his under-21s debut and beating Charlton in the FA Youth Cup.
Here are Mavididi's quotes in full:
"My main targets for the upcoming season are to play as many games as I can and help the team do well in the UEFA Youth League.
"I'm over the moon to sign my first professional contract. It's something everyone around me has been working towards to get me into the position I'm in now and I'm very grateful, especially signing it at a club that's in a fantastic position.
"There's a good buzz going around the club and the future looks so exciting. My main highlight from last season would be the FA Youth Cup win against Charlton. From a personal point of view, I suffered a hip fracture and was out for three months but that was my first game back and it was full of emotion ending in a 3-2 win.
"It was a nice feeling, everybody was pleased and it felt even better playing in front of my family."
Here's what Parkinson said about signing his deal:
“I’m absolutely over the moon to sign my first professional contract. It’s a huge moment, personally, but also for the people around me who have had to sacrifice their time and effort in order to help me get to this point and to do it here at the club I grew up supporting makes it even more special.
“There has been moments that really stand out this season, with one being the two FA Youth Cup games we had. I scored twice against Charlton to win 3-2 (at The Valley) and then, despite the result, my goal against Arsenal in the next round. It meant a lot to score in front of fans at St. James’ Park.
“I also enjoyed my goal against Leeds for the under-21s as it was my first at that level in a really tough match.
“I think I have benefited a lot from stepping up to the under-21s as it made me realise the level, physicality and pace I needed to match so that I could compete and do well.
“The challenge I enjoyed was coming up against bigger and stronger defenders and trying to find ways of getting the better of them. I think going into next season, understanding and knowing what to expect is a good thing."
And, finally, here's everything Thompson said about his first professional contract:
“I’m delighted to sign my first professional contract at my boyhood club. It’s a special feeling and a dream come true to sign for the club I grew up loving and supporting.
"Being here since the age of 13, I never thought of getting this far and I would never change my journey to this point now, which has been full of highs and lows.
“My main highlights from last season would certainly have been making my under-21s debut and beating Charlton at The Valley in the FA Youth Cup.
“The experience I have gained playing with the under-21s has been very valuable as it gave me a taste for what the next couple of years will look like, especially playing out of position at right-back. It was a challenge to adapt to that role but a one I really enjoyed.
“I think Elliot (Anderson) is a good example as to how he progressed into the first-team. His pathway included a loan spell in which he did very well and gained lots of good experiences playing men’s football which I think is very important."
Congratulations to all three. Living the dream!