Harry Darling signs extended contract at Cambridge United

PUBLISHED: 23:48 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 23:48 17 August 2017

Cambridge United defender Harry Darling.

Cambridge United defender Harry Darling.

Richard Marsham - RMG Photography Tel - 07798 758711

Young defender commits to the U’s

Harry Darling has signed a four-year contract extension with Cambridge United.

The 18-year-old centre-back signed his first professional deal with the U’s in October 2016, having made his first-team debut against Scunthorpe in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Darling grew up in Burwell and studied at Bottisham Village College, first joining United as an under-13 before a short period in the shadow academy led to him earning a full-time scholarship.

He made his second appearance for the first team in the Carabao Cup against Bristol Rovers last week.

Darling’s new contract is until June 2021.

“It’s an honour to sign for another two years at the club that I watched and supported when I was growing up,” he said.

“It has been about working hard to get the rewards, and that is what I will continue to do. That’s what being a professional footballer is about.

“The goal now is to establish a place in the first-team squad and hopefully gain some good experience over the next year, and then push on over the next two years.

“I’m lucky to have other defenders at this club who have been involved in the game for so many years.

“Already I have learnt so much from those, asking them questions around the training ground and watching them play, so it’s good for me to have that for my learning.

“I’ve had a taste of competitive football already this season, and it’s given me an insight on what I need to continue to work on in order to play at that level regularly.”

United’s head of football operations Ben Strang said: “We’re delighted to secure Harry’s long-term future at the club.

“Harry earned the achievement of signing his first professional contract last season and at the earliest possible moment after his 18th birthday we have extended these terms for a player we believe can have an exciting career ahead of him.

“Harry knows that he must continue to work as hard as previously with the coaching staff to improve his all round game, and with Matt Walker to ensure that he continues to develop physically in preparation for the goal of playing regularly in our first team.

“Huge credit also goes to Mark Bonner and all of the academy staff for Harry’s progression, particularly over the last two years.

“As a club we want to develop our own young players and ensure this process is managed correctly.

“Harry is a local boy, really talented and possesses the drive to break into our first team.

“With the professionalism, maturity and dedication he shows, we are confident that he can achieve that and more.”

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