HIGHLY rated young Kippax footballer Callum Pilkington has taken the next step on the way to fulfilling his dream to be a professional footballer by signing for Premiership club Stoke City.
Centre-forward Callum, 16, has been attracting scouts from top teams for a number of years and was featured in the Express two years ago when he signed for the Liverpool FC academy, having previously been on the books of Bradford City.
He has now signed a three-year deal with Stoke, which includes a two-year scholarship and a one-year professional contract and is seen as a great prospect as a striker who holds the ball up well and has an eye for goal.
The former Brigshaw School pupil, who also has England under 16s experience, has now moved to Stoke to live with house parents.
Callum scored on his youth team debut for Stoke on Thursday.
He was one of 13 highly rated players handed academy scholarships by the Potters with all the youngsters and their parents invited to attend a specially arranged contract signing session at the Britannia Stadium where chief executive Tony Scholes, academy director Terry Robinson and academy manager Dave Wright were all in attendance.
Robinson said: “This signals the start of what we all hope will be a fascinating adventure for each of the youngsters penning deals with us here at Stoke City Football Club.
“Everybody here has the opportunity to go on and become a professional footballer for this football club, but for that to happen each and everyone of the lads has to give everything they have got and listen to the advice from everybody who is here to help them.
“We will endeavour to turn these lads in to future Stoke City footballers - that is our objective.”
Wright added: “All 13 of the lads are now on that first rung of a very big ladder towards becoming a professional footballer, hopefully here at Stoke City.
“This is an excellent opportunity for these young players, but it is also a very important time in their careers and it is up to them to make the most of that chance.”