PNE offer contracts to three youngsters

Josh Earl and Melle Meulensteen in action for PNE youth team against Everton
Josh Earl and Melle Meulensteen in action for PNE youth team against Everton
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Preston North End have offered professional contracts to three of their youth-team players.

Melle Meulensteen, Josh Earl and Callum Roberts are approaching the end of the second year of their scholarships with the Lilywhites.

PNE youth team goalkeeper Callum Roberts

PNE youth team goalkeeper Callum Roberts

All three played key roles in PNE's run to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup.

Midfielder Meulensteen skippered the youth team, while Earl impressed on the left-wing and up front - he is currently on loan with Lancaster City.

Goalkeeper Roberts made crucial saves in their penalty shoot-out win over Everton.

North End boss Simon Grayson said: "It's never an easy day when you are making these decisions and talking to the young players, because their hearts are set on becoming a professional and getting a professional contract.

"We don't give contracts out for the sake of it, the players have to look like they have the potential to be around the first team very quickly, so we are fortunate we have three this year.

"Josh Earl, Melle Meulensteen and Callum Roberts have got the contracts and they are now sort of bottom end of the ladder again and they have to work hard and come back in pre-season ready to train with the first team and ultimately to try and take someone's place.

"Congratulations to them, and to the other lads who haven't got one we wish them well. We will do whatever we can to help them find a club and hopefully they don't give up on their dream of being a professional footballer."

The trio have been offered one-year contracts with the option of a second year.