Preston North End midfielder Josh Brownhill has signed a two-and-a-half-year professional contract.
The 18-year-old broke into the Lilywhites squad in October as a second-year scholar and has gone on to make 13 starts and four substitute appearances.
Brownhill scored on his full PNE debut against Gillingham, and his winner at Carlisle on Boxing Day is in the running for the Football League’s goal of the year award.
North End manager Simon Grayson said: “It is brilliant for Josh because he has worked extremely hard to get to where he is now.
“There has been a lot of talk and speculation about other people watching him, and rightly so because he is a good young English player with a lot of potential.”
While there were some Premier League clubs circling, PNE did have a one-year contract option on Brownhill – as they have with all of their trainees.
But they chose to open talks on a longer deal after the progress he has made.
Warrington-born Brownhill joined North End’s school of excellence as a 15-year-old having previously been on the books of Manchester United.
He is expected to return to the PNE squad for Saturday’s home clash with Leyton Orient having been sidelined by a groin strain for the last three games.