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Club News


Youngster at Oakwell until summer of 2026

6 January 2024

Club News


Youngster at Oakwell until summer of 2026

6 January 2024

Barnsley Football Club is delighted to announce that Jonathan Bland has signed his first professional contract at Oakwell.

Our U18s’ captain, who made his senior debut in the EFL Trophy earlier this season, puts pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal that will keep him at Oakwell until at least the summer of 2026.

“I’m over the moon, to be honest,” the defender beamed. “It’s something that I’ve worked towards since I was a little kid, so when I got told I couldn’t really believe it and it’s not really sunk in yet, but I’m hoping it will soon.”

The 18-year-old has excelled in our academy set-up since arriving from West Bromwich Albion and has gone on to earn caps for Wales at youth level.

His impressive performances - both in defence and midfield - saw him named as Academy Player of the Season back in May as he and his teammates were crowned Professional Development League champions for the first time in the Club’s history.

Now, the versatile youngster is keen to kick on and continue catching the eye of our senior coaching staff.

“It’s a good stepping stone from where I was last year,” stated Bland. “I think I did really well last year, and the coaches were pleased with me, and the next step I wanted to do was to make my debut.

“I’d like to play as many under 21s minutes as I can and keep leading for the under 18s. I think that’s vital, just to get the experience. If I can play as many Saturday-Tuesday’s as possible, that would be amazing, and hopefully I’ll get another chance soon in the first team, whether that’s this season or next.

“I’ve just got to get my head down and keep working hard.”

Reds Head Coach, Neill Collins stated: “Jonathan has shown a fantastic attitude to improve, which is vital if he is going to go on and have the career we think he is capable of.

“He shows composure beyond his years and his ability to play in different positions at such a young age is a testament to the ability he has.

“We are excited to have him commit to the Club and look forward to helping him reach his potential.”

Bobby Hassell, Interim Director of Football, added: “Jonathan’s versatility and consistent performances over two seasons have made him an integral part of our Academy, excelling in numerous positions with remarkable ease.

“His natural leadership qualities and maturity are evident, making him a worthy Academy captain and a potential future captain for the first team.

“Jonathan’s commitment to the Club is a testament to the opportunities and developmental pathway we offer.

“While some of his teammates may have captured more headlines, Jonathan’s consistency and under-the-radar performances have made him an invaluable asset to our Academy’s success in the last year, accumulating in him lifting the national title last season with the U18s.

"We are delighted he has decided to sign his first professional contract at the Club. Jonathan adds to the core group of young Academy talent we have coming through the system who we have high hopes for going forward.”

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