Watford have offered professional deals to six of the club’s academy scholars, The Football Pyramid understands.
As always at this time of the football calendar, the Hornets had decisions to make on the futures of those in the second year of their scholarships, with only two of the young hopefuls not being kept on by the club.
We understand highly-rated goalkeeper Nathan Gartside, who has been involved in first-team duties throughout this season, is among those to be awarded a first professional contract.
Charlie Rowan, Rhyle Ovenden, Connor Stevens, Brandon Mason and Andrew Eleftheriou have also been informed that the Hertfordshire club intends to extend their stays at Vicarage Road.
However, Max Makaka and Jacob Cook have been told that their time at Vicarage Road has come to end, we understand.
The sextet are set to make the transition to professional status along with highly-rated strikers Michael Folivi and Ogo Obi – who has previously been the subject of interest from Man United and Man City – with the duo having already committed their futures to the club.
In total, eight of David Horseman’s Under-18s will now join up with the Under-21 squad for next season.
It’s no surprise that such a high number of academy hopefuls have earned professional deals, with Horseman’s team believed to be highly regarded among the decision makers at Vicarage Road.
This is no doubt down to the fact the team enjoyed a fantastic season in which they won the Development League Two South Division title, losing just three times all season to pip Charlton Athletic’s youth side to triumph.
And coupled with the news that the same number are set to be released from the Under-21 squad, the club have moved to fill the gap by rewarding the efforts of their next talented crop of stars.