Four Nottingham Forest youngsters have signed professional contracts with the club, while a new signing has also been announced.
Tyler Walker, Nikolay Todorov, Matty Cash and Freddie Nielsen have all penned professional deals, while 16-year-old Jordan Gabriel has joined from Southend United.
Tyler Walker: 18-year-old striker
A regular goalscorer at Under 18 and Under 21 level, a professional contract has come as Walker’s reward for a fine season so far.
Academy manager Gary Brazil said: “His all-round game has improved a lot. He’s grown stronger physically, he’s got good speed, he gets around the pitch really well and he looks comfortable on the ball.
“The big thing we’re really pleased about is that he’s scoring goals, both for the Under 18s and 21s. Things are looking good for Tyler at this moment in time. He needs to keep his head down and keep working hard.
“Jimmy Gilligan played up front, Jack Lester played up front and the new gaffer was a striker. He’s going to get good information from good people. The more he takes on board and uses, the further we’re hopefully going to get Tyler.”
Nikolay Todorov: 18-year-old striker
Born five days too early to play for our Under 18s this season, Bulgarian forward Todorov has proved his potential while working with the Under 21s group.
Brazil said: “His attitude is first class. He works really hard both on the grass and in the gym. He’s a different type of striker to Tyler. He’s very, very good in the air – especially in the box. He attacks the ball really well, as I think some of the first-team defenders will testify to from when he has trained with them.
“Nikolay has a great chance moving forward. He’s just picked up a nasty ankle injury and he’ll be out for a few weeks, but his hunger to get back is already there to see.”
Matty Cash: 17-year-old central midfielder
A recent arrival from the Bisham Abbey academy, Matty Cash has made an instant impact with some promising performances for our Under 18s and Under 21s.
Brazil said: “Matty’s been here four or five months now and has settled in nicely. He’s not really been part of an academy system before.
“He’s got a nice, cheeky way about him and he moves about the pitch really well. Technically he’s very good and he’s got the ability to break lines from midfield and get into the box. I think he’s one that will be able score goals.
“There are a lot of good things going for Matty and we’re pleased to tie him into a longer deal, giving him a chance to settle down and feel more secure in the environment.”
Frederik Nielsen: 17-year-old central defender
Signed from Danish club Viborg FF earlier this season, defender Nielsen’s physical stature makes him an exciting project for staff at the Nigel Doughty Academy.
Brazil said: “He is a colossal size. He obviously does well in the air, but he’s never had to jump before because he’s so much bigger than everybody else. We’re slowing the process down with Freddie, teaching him many of the basic fundamentals of movement, strengthening him up and then putting him back on the park where we believe we’re going to have a lot of success with him.
“He’s very good at developing play from the back. We’ve got to teach him a bit more about his defending and also, because he’s such a big unit, he’s never really had to be that aggressive, which he’s going to have to be in the British game.
“If we can get those attributes into him we’re on to a real winner with this kid. We’re quite excited at being given the opportunity to work with him for the next few years.”
Jordan Gabriel: 16-year-old full back
Forest fought off the likes of Chelsea to bring Southend youngster Gabriel to the club, who commences his scholarship next year.
Brazil said: “The boy is going to be someone who the strength and conditioning department can work hard with. His speed and strength stats are very good.
“We’re pleased – there were other people very interested but he’s chosen to come to us.”
Click here to hear more from Brazil about those who have signed new deals with the club, and here for his update on the academy as a whole.