The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tom Black­ett

HOT prospect Aaron Mor­ley couldn’t hide his de­light af­ter putting pen to pa­per on his first pro­fes­sional con­tract – just days af­ter turn­ing 17.

The first year scholar has im­pressed at Dale’s academy and earned a first-team de­but ear­lier this sea­son, com­plet­ing 90 min­utes in a 2-1 win against Notts County in the Check­a­trade Tro­phy in early Oc­to­ber.

Four days later, the mid­fielder made his EFL de­but, start­ing in Rochdale’s 3-0 win over Southend United. He has since gone on to make a to­tal of six first team ap­pear­ances.

Mor­ley, who has signed a deal un­til the sum­mer of 2019, said: “I love play­ing foot­ball and I love it here at Rochdale. I’m re­ally, re­ally pleased to have signed and to have been given the op­por­tu­nity to sign a con­tract for the next cou­ple of years.

“This is a big step in my ca­reer and I’m go­ing to con­tinue work­ing hard to keep im­prov­ing and de­vel­op­ing.”

Rochdale boss Keith Hill was just as happy to have se­cured the ser­vices of the tal­ented teenager.

“Aaron has been given an op­por­tu­nity and he has taken it,” said Hill. “That’s what’s unique about this foot­ball club – we give op­por­tu­ni­ties to young play­ers.

“There was in­ter­est in Aaron from other clubs af­ter we played him as a 16year-old, so it’s bril­liant that he has com­mit­ted his fu­ture to the club.

“It has been a bril­liant sea­son for him so far – he’s learn­ing all the time.

“He has been learn­ing while play­ing for the first team and the youth team, and his train­ing has been su­perb. He’s ahead of his years.”

Academy man­ager Tony El­lis added: “It gives us an enor­mous sense of pride to see yet an­other scholar make the tran­si­tion from our youth team into the first team en­vi­ron­ment.”

TAL­ENT: Aaron Mor­ley

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