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Archived News from November 2016

10th November 2016 19:36

Youngster signs pro terms
mansfieldtown.net, 7th November 2016

Mansfield Town are delighted to announce that young striker Zayn Hakeem has today signed his first professional contract with the club.

Hakeem, 17, has signed a deal until the end of the 2018/19 season, which gives him security about his future in the game.

The Antigua and Barbuda under 20 international is currently in his second year on the club’s EPPP programme (Elite Player Performance Plan) at Brooksby Melton College and was a stand-out performer during last season's Football League Youth Alliance title-winning campaign.

Hakeem’s outstanding form over the last year has culminated in him being involved with Adam Murray’s first team squad on a number of occasions, making his senior debut in the last game of the 2015/16 season against Cambridge United and appearing as a second-half substitute in an EFL Cup match at home to Blackburn this term.

After putting pen-to-paper on his first even professional deal, Hakeem was delighted to sign and paid tribute to the people who have helped him to reach this point in his career.

"I’m over the moon to sign my first professional contract. I’m happy to be at the club. I want to thanks the gaffer (Adam Murray), Karl [Hawley], Coops (Richard Cooper), Demps (John Dempster), Scott Rickards, all the youth team coaches. It’s overwhelming really.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/youngster-signs-pro-terms-3404062.aspx#OhGg3YeKPpuO5C8K.99

"It’s what you dream of from the start of the scholarship, even from when you’re young, to sign your first professional contract and hopefully I can just kick on from here now."

Boss Adam Murray said: "We have been very pleased with Zayn's progress this season.

"He is another one of our young players who we are trying to get into the first team environment on a consistent basis.

"Zayn's progress is as a result of a lot of people's hard work [into him] as well as the hard work from Zayn himself.

"It is another great example of the continuing growth of our football club and its continously progressive infrastructure," he added.

Director Steve Hymas witnessed Hakeem sign his contract at One Call Stadium this afternoon and he explained that it's important for the youngster to continue his education process in the club's academy.

“Zayn will remain in and around the youth team for the rest of the season to finish his development and his education, unless of course he is required by the first team," Steve said.

“Next season he will be part of the first team unit and the first team coaches can develop him further until he can have an effect on first team games, if selected.

“We don’t want to rush things with the lad as we currently have four good strikers at the club so we must be patient and his time will come.”

Commenting further, Steve said: “This contract comes on the back of Zayn’s recent international call-up for the Antigua and Barbuda Under 20s from which we have heard great reports.

“This shows maturity in the player and we want to reward him for his efforts and achievements.”

Stags PlayerHD subscribers can view Zayn's first interview with the Stags after signing pro forms.


Hakeem's dreams come true after signing pro deal
mansfieldtown.net, 7th November 2016

Young striker Zayn Hakeem says today is one of the best days of his life after putting pen-to-paper on his first ever professional contract at the club.

The 17-year-old frontman has been rewarded for his hard work in the youth team as well as his international exploits after recently being called up to the Antigua and Barbuda Under 20s squad, for whom he scored two goals whilst in the Caribbean.

And Hakeem, who joined the club’s EPPP programme at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign, says today is a day he’s dreamed about since he was a child.

“It’s one of the best days of my life, it’s what I’ve dreamed about since I was young. Now it’s finally happened I just hope I can keep improving and show the faith that the manager and the club has put in to me,” Hakeem said.

Read more at http://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/article/2016-17/hakeems-dreams-come-true-after-signing-for-stags-3404882.aspx#msCIjgVBfwl3yvYx.99

The Leicester-born forward spent five years with the Nottingham Forest academy until the age of 16 and he has spoken of the gratitude he has for the first team coaching staff of manager Adam Murray and first team coaches Karl Hawley and Richard Cooper for helping him adapt from training with the youth team to training with the first team.

“The gaffer, Adam Murray, is very good with the players. He helps us, he almost guides us; he knows we’re not going to be the finished article at the moment but he helps us when we come in to get a bond with the team [and] to be confident.

“There’s a big difference from youth team to first team, obviously. The intensity of the first team is a lot more physical, a lot faster, a lot more demanding. It’s hard to get used to but when you keep training with them, you get used to it.

“I’m still getting used to it now but it’s better when you’ve got coaches like Karl and Coops who keep encouraging you and keep helping you. Even if you do have a bad session, they keep giving you confidence and you keep going every day.”

Hakeem believes his contract with the club will now give him the opportunity to continue to learn from Hawley, who amassed over 400 senior appearances, and the other senior strikers at the club.

“Whether it’s instincts in the box, making specific runs, moving my feet quicker, getting shots off, knowing where to be in the box, he’s (Hawley) just helped me with a lot and when I’ve taken it back down to the youth level, I’ve been able to score more goals or just help the team more and hopefully I can take that in to the first team one day.

“Obviously you’ve got Matty Green, you’ve got Pat Hoban, you’ve got Danny Rose, you’ve got Hendo (Darius Henderson) - they’re all good strikers, all experienced strikers, even if I just learn off them and be in with them day-to-day [then I can improve].”

Supporters can watch Zayn Hakeem’s first interview as a professional player on Stags PlayerHD.



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