AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold says he is excited by the potential of promising academy defender Tyler French.
The 17-year-old has impressed for the Yellows at Under-18s and Reserves level and featured for the first team three times during the back end of last season.
This season, French has been on the bench for five of Sudbury’s seven games so far, with the most recent of those the 6-0 win against Halstead Town in the Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round at the weekend.
On the same day, the Long Melford-based teenager signed a three-year contract with the club, which is set to keep him at The Wardale Williams Stadium until at least 2019.
“Danny Laws (AFC Sudbury Academy’s director of football and youth development) speaks extremely highly of him,” Godbold said.
“Trying to measure potential is a really difficult thing to do but we can see him being another ever-present of the team.
“Tyler himself wanted to commit long term to the club and I’m really pleased.
“We still value the younger players and want to keep that blend of youth and experience in the team.”
French joined AFC’s academy at the start of last season, following spells at Long Melford and Hadleigh United during the end of the previous campaign.
Last season, the youngster made 27 appearances for Sudbury’s reserve side in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division, but so far in 2016/17 he has been in between both the first team and reserves squads.
“Tyler’s made massive strides since he’s come here,” Godbold said. “He came to the academy as a centre forward and he’s turned into a centre-half now.
“He’s got lots of potential and now having him here long term takes the pressure off him and us as well.
“Hopefully by year three he has had a good number of games at this level and if the club has the ambition to go up we’ll take him there with us.”
Sudbury’s reward for their comprehensive victory over Halstead in the FA Cup at the weekend is a trip to Vanarama National League South side Ebbsfleet United in the second qualifying round a week on Saturday (September 17).
Godbold’s focus will firstly be on a tricky home double over the next week, with Tonbridge Angels visiting on Saturday (3pm) and then his former club Lowestoft Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
The AFC boss will be without both Jordan Blackwell and Dave Cowley for the double header, with the former having joined Brightlingsea Regent on a short-term loan to get game time.
Cowley has left the club less than two weeks after returning with Godbold, citing work and personal life demands for the midfielder’s sudden departure.