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First Team News

Scholar Of The Year Delighted To Turn Pro

12 May 2021

Jacob Holland-Wilkinson has had a whirl wind week, with the receipt of the scholar of the year trophy and his first professional contract at Preston North End.

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The 18-year-old has been on the bench multiple times for the first team this season and he admits that this week has been a ‘dream come true’.

Speaking to iFollow PNE the forward said: “Even from grassroots level you work hard and dream of reaching this stage of your career and earning a professional contract and I have now done that.

“It has been a dream year. I have been given a lot of opportunities [being called into the first team squad] and it has been a blessing this year. I have still had time to play for the youth team, as well as coming up to Euxton; it is something I have thoroughly enjoyed.

“I have wanted to thank Alex Neil for a long time, because he was the one who put his faith in me to come up and deliver with the first team and now, I just need to work hard, continue to progress and hopefully get a chance next year.”

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The scholar has worked hard to get to this level over a number of years with the club, but now acknowledges that having reached the top of the tree in youth team football, he must start the climb again at the bottom of the professional ranks.

“Nick and everyone at youth development, even down to the coaches at the younger age groups, from U14s when I came in, they have all been great with me, all shown me support and now I can say ‘thank you’ and try and show what I can do,” he continued.

“I now go back to the bottom of the ladder and start that climb again and that is something that keeps me going. I want to try and get to the top of my game and that is something I will be working really hard for.

“I will be putting 100 per cent in over the summer. Everyone will see it as a nice little break, but for me it is a time to work hard and come back in and hopefully smash next season.”

The presentation of his award by Paul Gallagher at the Euxton training ground last week has also inspired him, especially with some of the names on the trophy.

“I have always backed myself to put hard work in and that has now paid off. Scholar of the year is something I was really privileged to get and a professional contract in the same week is something I have really worked hard for.

“It is great to follow in the footsteps of some of the names on the trophy. Ben Davies will always stand out; he has gone to Liverpool and is doing what he is doing now and that is something you look up to as motivation, try and follow in those footsteps and do as well as he has done,” he added.

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