Talented young St George’s footballer Adam Long has signed a professional contract with English Championship side Wigan Athletic.
The former Union Mills prodigy is still only in his first season of senior football with Geordies but has already established himself as a first team regular at the all-conquering Glencrutchery Road side.
Manager Chris Bass Sr wasted little time in giving the teenager his debut once Long turned 16 earlier this season and, under the guidance of more experienced team-mates such as Sean Quaye, Julian Ringham and Johnny Myers, the promising centre-back has flourished.
Man of the match performances and Team of the Week appearances soon followed and he also shone as part of the Isle of Man’s national under-18s squad, scoring as he helped them defeat Lancaster City just last month.
Now the youngster’s progress has been rewarded with a two-year deal with Championship team Wigan and he will join the DW Stadium outfit in June.
Speaking to the Manx Independent earlier this week, the Ballakermeen High School student commented: ’I’m delighted to have signed a scholarship with Wigan and can’t wait to get started.
’The move came thanks to [St George’s coach] Lee Dixon who helped me out, going over with me to games and training and giving me good advice on how to approach it with the right attitude.
’I start at the end of June and will join their under-18s team for two years.
’The facilities are amazing. They have Christopher Park and recently bought Bolton’s training ground Euxton.’
So how has playing and training with the island’s leading side helped develop the youngster’s game?
’Playing with Geordies has definitely helped me out, especially training with players of the highest standard here in the island.
’But the coaches always want the best out of the team and push them so hard. I’m glad I got the opportunity from Bass Sr to be able to play in such a good team.
’The best player to learn from in the team is probably Sean Quaye as he’s able to help me out at the back and always shows me how to improve my game.’
After news of the deal broke, Quaye was quick to pay tribute to his young team-mate and wish him all the best for the future.
The former island captain commented: ’What an absolutely fantastic achievement and opportunity for the young lad.
’I’m made up for him and from the first time I saw him training with Geordies I thought he had something about him.
’I’ve played with him a number of times and have been very impressed with his performances, notably his man of the match performance against Peel.
’For such a young lad, he showed great maturity in that game and performed superbly.
’He, of course, has a big physical presence but he is also very good technically with the ball at his feet.
’I and all the lads at St George’s wish him good luck for the future. The hard work starts now!’