Rotherham United youngster Jacob Gratton has penned his first professional deal with the club, signing a contract (subject to EFL and FA ratification) that will keep him at AESSEAL New York Stadium until 2022.
The 18-year-old attacker has impressed in the youth ranks and has caught the eye of the first team staff in the process, leading to him being rewarded with a deal with the senior side.
Gratton has trained with the first team on a number of occasions in recent months having excelled at youth level and earned a place on the bench for Paul Warne’s side in the Sky Bet League One game against Fleetwood Town.
He has been a shining light in the club’s Academy during the period of his scholarship, playing a starring role as the Millers were cruelly defeated in extra time in the FA Youth Cup by Mansfield Town, despite playing a large period of the game with 10 men.
Raised in Rotherham, Gratton joined the club’s Academy system at the age of 9, signing after turning 10 and is a player well-known throughout the club by a number of staff.
Speaking after the youngster put pen-to-paper on his first professional contract, first team/development coach Matt Hamshaw said:
“He’s not been on a pathway too dissimilar to Ben Wiles in that he came into the system at a very young age and has come all the way through.
“That is the blueprint that you want in an ideal world, bringing lads in at 9, helping them through to 16 and their scholarship years before they try and earn a professional deal. It is very rare it happens but in the case of Gratts and Wilesy before him, we have seen it happen.
“You have to be consistent over a very long period of time in order to stay in the system and by all accounts, Gratts has done that. He’s a great kid, who comes from a really good family and the club means so much to him.
“This contract is a reward for his hard work and dedication and I have to say, when he has trained with the first team he has impressed us.
“His pathway from here could have a few loans factored into it and he’ll work alongside us too. Our main goals for him will be to make him more physically robust, whilst developing the tactical and technical sides of his game.
“I’ve known him from my days working with the Academy and recall him joining when he was 9. He has always turned up to training and done all of the right things, but he has really sped up his development over last couple of years and has been performing at a consistently high level.
“He is a lad that always gives everything and is willing to take responsibility on. That fits right in with the types of players we try to recruit.”