Austin Samuels has extended his stay with Wolves Academy by a further 12 months after penning a new contract.
The under-23s striker has been on Wolves’ books since May 2009 and has progressed through the system, from the under-8s to the first-team matchday squad.
The 20-year-old has been a regular around the under-23s group in recent years and used the past 18 months to gain invaluable experience on loan at Kidderminster Harriers and Bradford City.
While away, Samuels made six appearances for Kidderminster in the sixth tier, before a further 14 for League Two Bradford City, for whom he scored his first professional goal against Tonbridge Angels in the Emirates FA Cup.
After returning to Compton Park in January, the striker rejoined the under-23s group and scored four times in 13 appearances as James Collins’ side finished fourth in the PL2 Division 2.
On Samuels’ journey, technical director Scott Sellars said: “Austin’s been with us a long time, he’s a player who has progressed well. He’s had a taste of loan football in the last year, with Kidderminster which was cut short due to Covid, and then Bradford in a difficult period for them. Again, it’s been good learning for him.
“Sometimes loans are about recognising the levels and generally they can be a bit of an eye-opener. Unfortunately, he got injured towards the end of the season with his hamstring, but in the 23s I thought his performances overall were good and showed he’s progressing.
“With young strikers, they seem to take a little bit longer to progress and mature, so we certainly think there’s more in Austin in the future.”
Samuels hails from the local area, having started at Newbridge Rangers, and his journey represents the strength of the Wolves Academy, nurturing local talent through the system.
He said: “As we’ve always said, we want to try and get the best boys locally and give them opportunities. If we haven’t got the quality we want, obviously we’ll look around and see what’s out there. Austin is a prime example of a player we’ve always rated and think he has a good future in football.
“He came back in January and gave some good performances for the under-23s. He’s still only 20 years old, so he’s a young boy, and we’ll continue to give him the opportunity and to challenge him to progress.
“We’ve had some enquiries about him for loans, and they can be great for players, but also a risk, so we’ll have a look after pre-season to see what’s best for Austin’s next step.”