Eastbourne’s Isaac Hutchinson was delighted to sign his first professional contract at League One outfit Southend United.
Hutchinson, the son of former Eastbourne United manager Tobi Hutchinson, agreed a two-and-a-half year deal at Roots Hall last Friday.
The 18-year-old attacking midfielder has scored once in nine matches for the first team this season. He agreed to join Southend despite an offer from Czech giants Sparta Prague.
“It’s another step in the right direction and hopefully I can push on now,” Hutchinson told the Southend Echo. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here since joining in the summer and everyone has helped me massively.
“I had an offer from Sparta Prague, so quite a big European club, but I came on trial and really enjoyed it here.
“My debut against Cambridge really kick-started things and I’d like to think since then I’ve improved.
“The manager has put a lot of faith in me and given me starts in the League so that speaks for itself.”
Chris Powell, the Southend manager and former England international, spoke highly of Hutchinson.
Speaking to the Southend Echo, he added, “The story is quite a heart-warming one because Hutch had been at Brighton for a while and got released.
“He came in after a trial and we saw a player who had a lot of talent who we felt would give an opportunity to and he’s grabbed it.
“He’s impressed since the first day he’s come here and this season he’s gone up a notch. He’s a creator but he’s got an eye for goal wherever he plays.
“He’s impressed with his work rate, with his quality and with his willingness to improve.
“He does a lot of extra work which is a good trait to have at a young age and he’s really made a good impression on all the staff at the football club so it’s a contract that is well deserved.”