ALEX McLeish has given former Langley School student Ashley Sammons his first professional contract at Birmingham City.
The 17-year-old midfielder, who is a product of the academy at St Andrews has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year deal with Birmingham City and set his sights on a first team place.
But the Solihull born star who was first spotted by Blues playing for Knowle Under-10s admitted that the hard work is still to come.
"I am really proud to have earned a professional contract at the club I've supported since I was a young boy," said the England Under-18 international.
"However, I'm fully aware the hard work starts here.
"In this game you have to keep working hard and raising your standards each and every day to keep achieving your goals."
Proud parents Bryan and Kim watched Sammons sign his contract and the reigning Solihull Sports Personality of the Year pledged his intention of breaking into the first team squad.
During pre-season the youngster played alongside Lee Carsley against Forest Green Rovers and admitted he loved what he saw.
"I got a little bit of a taste at Forest Green of what is hopefully to come. "It was unbelievable playing alongside a player with as much experience as Lee Carsley and it can only have benefited my game."
Blues manager Alex McLeish added: "We are delighted for Ashley.
"He is a very mobile player on the pitch and a really good character and attentive listener off it.
"If he continues to show the desire that he has been doing he can go a long way in the game."