Academy starlet Dele Alli has put pen to paper on his first professional contract with Milton Keynes Dons to remain at the Club until 2016.
The midfielder has this afternoon (Friday) inked a three-year deal with the Dons, the Club that he has been with for seven years, and has followed in the footsteps of former Academy product Sam Baldock, who was also rewarded with a professional contract at just 17-years old.
It has been a whirlwind 12 months for Alli at MK Dons, in summer 2012 he was called up to the England Under-17 squad and has since featured regularly for his national team throughout the season.
Having impressed manager Karl Robinson through his exploits with the Under-18s team, Alli was called up to the first team in November and was handed his debut when he came off the bench as a 64th minute substitute in the goalless draw against Cambridge City in The FA Cup First Round.
Two weeks later, the midfielder made an appearance in the replay at stadiummk and stunned supporters with a superb 30-yard strike, which was later shortlisted for the Club’s Goal of the Year, to help the Dons claim a spot in the Second Round of the Cup with a 6-1 win.
Alli was handed his full League debut at the end of December against Coventry City and he went on to make seven appearances for the first team last season. On top of that, Alli also reached 20 appearances for the Under-18s and totalled 17 goals in an impressive campaign with Mike Dove’s side.
Dons boss Robinson said: “One of my first passions when I became manager was to introduce youth and Milton Keynes-based players into the first team. Next season, nearly a third of our first team squad will be home-grown players.
“Dele will be one of them and we’re very proud to say that he is one of our own. I believe this boy has got all the fundamental characteristics to be a top class footballer and therefore we will look to continue his development throughout the course of this new, and exciting, chapter in both his career and the Club’s future.
“Be patient but be excited and remember this date.”
Director of Youth Dove, who has overseen Alli’s progress since 2006, added: “I’ve been delighted with how Dele has progressed and developed. During his time with us, I have witnessed Dele mature and grow into a bright young man that we, in the Academy, can be very proud of.
“Dele’s signing today tops off a very positive year for him; from becoming an England international to scoring on his full professional debut and finishing the year as top goalscorer with the Under-18s.
“I’d also like to thank the Hickford family for their tremendous support in raising Dele to become the person that he is today. We cannot underestimate how important they have been in his progress and development.”