TEENAGE midfielder Steven Hewitt has signed his first professional contract with the club.
The 17-year-old second-year scholar agreed a deal until the summer of 2014 after impressing boss Eddie Howe.
And he spoke of his delight at the news: “Not a lot of people get two and a half years – it’s normally one year – so it was a big privilege to sign it.
“I only heard a few weeks ago that the club were thinking of offering me a contract but was just told to carry on doing what I was doing. Then I got the call last week to say we want you to sign as soon as possible.”
Hewitt was taken on the club’s South West tour in pre-season, featuring in the friendly at Torquay, after cathcing Howe’s eye: “It was a good experience in pre-season. Not a lot of 17 year olds get to do that.
“The gaffer saw me in a few reserve games and pulled me to one side to say he thought I was doing really well and to keep going.”
Released by Blackburn eight years ago, he wondered whether his diminutive frame would be a problem: “I was at Blackburn Rovers when I was nine but they released me because I was too small and not fast enough.
“I thought to myself ‘am I going to be big enough or fast enough to be a football player?’ But when I turned 14 that’s when I started to kick on.
“The best player in the world, Messi, is smaller than me – about 5ft 6ins – so that gives me a lot of hope because not all teams are looking for big, tall players.”