TWO FORMER Brechin City Youth players have signed three-year contracts with Scottish Premier League side, Dundee United.
Ryan Gauld, a 17-year-old midfielder from Laurencekirk, and John Souttar, a 16 year-old defender from Luthermuir, have both put pen to paper on a deal that will keep them at the club until January, 2016.
Both boys joined the Brechin City Youth set-up when they were aged only six.
Their talent was obvious from a young age, with Dundee United snapping them up three years later.
When the news was announced, on January 24, Brechin City Youths took to social media site Twitter to send their best wishes to the boys.
They said: “Congratulations to former players Ryan Gauld and John Souttar with their contract extension to 2016 with Dundee United FC.”
Although they are both established under-20s players, they frequently travel with the first team, and have already made an impression at the club.
In a statement on the club’s website, Ryan is described as an “enormously skilful midfielder” who is “capable of using both feet”.
He made his first team debut in May 2012 when he made a substitute appearance against Motherwell.
Ryan has since made three more appearances for the first team.
He has also made progress in the international stage, having played a part in the Scotland under-19s team, which won group nine of the UEFA European Under-19s Championship qualifying round.
John has made history at the club already in his career.
He made his first team appearance for the club against Aberdeen at Pittodrie earlier this year, and in doing so he became the youngest player to ever play for United’s first team side.
Despite his young age, John has become one of the main stays of central defence in United’s under-20s squad.
John was also being called up to the Scotland under-17s for the 2012 UEFA European Championship Qualifying campaign and was part of the Scotland under-19s recent training camp in Turkey.
During his time with the national side, John has faced opponents such as Sweden, Croatia, Belgium and Luxembourg.
He was due to meet up with the under-17s national side in Cumbernauld as the Brechin Advertiser went to print.
Youth director Steve Campbell and chairman Stephen Thompson spoke to the club’s website about securing the boys on a three year deal.
Mr Campbell said: “It is a massive coup for the club to get these players signed up for the next three years.
“Both players have the potential to play at the highest level possible and if they continue to develop I am very excited about what they can achieve at Dundee United.
“Ryan is the type of player fans want to watch.
“Strong with both feet, he can not only set up goals for his team mates but also scores goals himself.
“Despite his diminutive stature, he has steel and stamina to match his skill and I am absolutely delighted that he has chosen to continue his football education here.
“John is such a mature lad for his age and has fitted into our under-20 squad with ease despite still being eligible for the under-17s.
“His involvement in the first team recently was no less than he deserved and I believe he can be a massive part of the future of Dundee United.
“He has all the attributes to be the complete centre half and if he continues to work hard he will achieve great things in the game.”
Mr Thompson commented: “We are absolutely delighted that both these young stars have signed up for three years.
“This rewards the efforts of everyone involved within our Youth Academy. Ryan and John are the future of Dundee United.
“They are two of the most exciting talents in the Scottish game and as a club we must continue to produce this level of talent.
“This club’s reputation for developing and producing opportunities for young players is deserved and with these signings we are confirming our commitment to produce the best possible talent from our Academy and utilise it within our own first team.”