Wolves Academy trio agree new deals

Wolves Academy trio Jackson Smith, Joe Young and Michael Agboola have signed new contracts ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Goalkeepers Smith and Young have committed to fresh two-year contracts, while Agboola has extended his Molineux stay for another 12 months.

The trio become the first members of Wolves Academy to sign new terms this summer, as James Collins’ side prepare for their return to Premier League 2 Division 1, following promotion.

Jon Hunter-Barrett, Wolves Academy manager for football, said: “We always say at Wolves that we like to reward people when they do a good job, whether they’re a player or member of staff. The lads have gone out and done a good job, and this is an opportunity for them to be rewarded.”

Smith has recently returned from a successful loan spell at Kettering Town, where he kept 12 clean sheets in 31 appearances, as the National League North side finished eighth. The 20-year-old has spent the past 13 years at the club and previously spent time at Frickley Athletic, before that impressive stint at Kettering.

Hunter-Barrett said: “We’re delighted with Jackson’s progression this season. He’s had different opportunities and it’s certainly given him the exposure and experience he needs to continue his development.

“He did extremely well and was priding himself on clean sheets, which is ultimately the job. There’s also his personal growth, he’s been here for a long, long time and now seeing him as a young man is quite remarkable.”

Like Smith, Young also spent the 2021/22 campaign out on loan, being an ever present for Runcorn Linnets pre-Christmas, before stepping up to the seventh tier with Matlock, and attracting praise for his performances, which yielded a series of clean sheets.

Hunter-Barrett added: “Joe has also been here for a long time and has had to go out on loan to get that experience of playing men’s football, developing the robustness of playing week in, week out. It shows he can be trusted, which is a big part of the job of a goalkeeper, and he’ll progress.

“He’s developed and grown, and it shows he can handle that pressure. What we all like about Joe is he has an unbelievable drive to improve. You only have to see his focus in training, in games, in the gym to make sure he’s prepared, and he deserves this opportunity.”

Injuries have influenced Agboola’s season, after a promising start to the campaign with the under-23s, for whom he scored in a 3-2 win over Newcastle United in October. The defender, who has attracted praise for his influence off the pitch, has been out of action since January, but is recovering well ahead of the start of pre-season later this month.

Hunter-Barrett said: “Michael’s had quite a few setbacks this season. Our medical team have worked really closely to make sure he’s in the best possible state to train and play. The times he’s stepped in and played, he’s shown what he can really do.

“He’s a great personality, has really good leadership skills and is a physical specimen of a centre back. He needs the time to let his body recover to be in the best possible state to get games under his belt. He’s so important to the environment because he’s a cultural architect in the dressing room or in the gym.”