Fulham’s conveyor belt of talented youth continues at a pace with three more promising youngsters signed to professional contracts. TJ Moncur, 19, Adam Watts, 18, and Wayne Brown, 18, all recently put pen to paper at Fulham’s Motspur Park Training Ground.
Having become regulars in the Reserves over the last 12 months, the trio were obviously excited about the latest step in their career.
TJ Moncur: “It’s an amazing feeling but I am just determined now to keep working and hopefully step up into the First Team next year. I came into the Reserve side towards the end of last season and have played more and more to the point now where I have been playing for the Reserves on a full-time basis.
“The First Team players are always on hand to give you advice and experience of their own to help improve your game. If there is a situation in training that you might have done wrong or that you could have done better then they give you ideas of a better way to handle the situation.
I am really pleased to receive this sort of feedback. It’s really good when you see players like Junior (Elliot Omozusi) making the step up as it gives the rest of us the belief that the Manager will pick youth if they make an impression. That is what we have to strive to achieve now.”
Adam Watts: “Ever since Sunday League I have wanted to play for a Premiership side. To play for the First Team is the main goal for all of us and we are only too aware of the dedication needed to achieve this, but we’re all more than willing to put that hard work in. We have some great centre backs at this Club, none more so than someone like Ian Pearce. He’s been around for a while, won the Premier League and managed to stay at a high level, so when he tells you stuff you just try and take it all in.”
Wayne Brown: “It goes without saying that I am absolutely delighted. It is something you work really hard for, so when you achieve it, it is a great moment, for me and my family. I have always been told by my dad that this is the first step of many in my career and I need to keep working hard so I can get my next contract.
The First Team is full of great footballers, you can’t help but improve your game training with these guys. Ray and Billy have been a great help, between them they have been through it all - you can’t get many better people to learn from.”
It was with a sense of pride that Head of Youth John Murtough ushered the trio into the newest phase of their careers, having seen them develop through the ranks. “This is one of the best things about the job, seeing the lads signing their first pro contract,” said Murtough. “You have to give credit to these three, they have worked exceptionally hard. They have listened and learned on a daily basis and then put these things into practice on the field. They need to kick on to that next level now, it would be fantastic to see them running out at Craven Cottage with a Fulham shirt on for the First Team.”
Without doubt the hard work starts now - making the final, and biggest step to realise potential and break into the First Team. It will be the job of the Reserve Team management pairing of Ray Lewington and Billy McKinlay to ensure that all three have the best possible opportunity to graduate. “Wattsy, TJ and Browny all have fantastic attitude towards the game, and credit to the lads for making that step,” said McKinlay.
Lewington added: “That contract is a great moment and like Billy said, great credit must go to them. The hard work starts now though, making the jump from Reserve to First Team football is a big one. Thankfully the three of them are sensible lads, they appreciate that they are on the first step of a very long ladder, but they are hard working lads who will ensure that they give themselves the best possible chance in the game.”