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Football: Dan's all Saints day for contract signing
HOT prospect Dan Bartlett has signed a new four-year-contract with Premiership outfit Southampton at St Mary’s.
The 12-year-old Broadstone Middle School pupil put pen to paper before the Saints’ 3-1 win over champions Manchester City earlier this month.
Dan went to the match with his mother Debbie, father Grahame and twin brother Joe.
The family had dinner at the ground and met man of the match Jay Rodrigues – Saints’ £7m signing from Burnley.
Dan’s signing was also announced in the match-day programme with a picture taken at the Southampton academy.
Although predominantly a midfielder, Dan has excelled as a striker and a defender during his time with Saints.
He trains at the Premiership club’s Staplewood ground three nights a week and has a day-release from school on Fridays before playing on Sundays.
Dan started his football career at six-years-old with Corfe Mullen United under-sevens team. He made 21 appearances scoring 24 goals.
The following season he joined Greenfields and his performances were brought to the attention of scouts from Southampton, Chelsea, Portsmouth and Cherries. He trained for all the clubs before finally concentrating on Southampton.
Dan played for the Southampton academy’s under-nines in the 2008-09 season.
The following year, Dan was top scorer with 46 goals.
Proud dad Grahame said: “Dan continued his development steadily over the next few years up to this season.
“Just before Christmas the under-12s had their player/par ent meetings with their coach Terry Moore. It was during this meeting that Terry said he had been impressed with Dan’s development and attitude so rewarded him with a four-year contract.
“The four-year contract is more to stop scouts/agents poaching Dan to another club but also shows Southampton FC’s commitment and confidence in his ability,” added Grahame.
“A lot of Dan’s previous coaches have congratulated him on hearing the news saying to me it was no big surprise as he’s such a talent.”
Although Dan is fully committed to Southampton, his ultimate dream is to play for his favourite team Liverpool and emulate Steven Gerrard.
“One day I’d like to run out at Anfield as Liverpool captain wearing the number eight shirt and be the youngest player ever to play for my country,” said Dan.