Jodi jubilant after signing first deal
18:00 19 March 2015
Dave Simpson/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football Leagu
Daggers youngster delighted to sign contract that keeps him at Victoria Road until June 2017
Dagenham & Redbridge were able to bounce back against Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night following a disappointing defeat to Southend United last weekend thanks to goals from Abu Ogogo and Jamie Cureton.
But it wasn’t all bad news for Daggers on Saturday as their highly-rated academy youngster Jodi Jones signed his first professional contract with the club – which commits him to the Victoria Road outfit until June 2017.
Wayne Burnett’s team lost at home to Southend with Ayo Obileye’s equalising header cancelled out by goals from Joe Pigott, Ryan Leonard and Barry Corr’s second-half penalty.
But it was a day to remember for 17-year-old Jones as he put pen to paper on a contract in front of a crowd of 3,393.
First-year scholar Jones has massively impressed when given opportunities this year, but things could have gone very differently for the young man.
“I am very proud to have signed my contract and my family are too,” said Jones. “I think it was when I was an under-14 that I was injured.
“I had a problem with my back. It was something to do with my spine, but I have forgotten what it was called now – it was a weird name!
“The whole season I was out injured and I was thinking I was going to get released, and I just knew when I came back that I had to proper go for this and now I have got my contract.”
Jones paid tribute to manager Burnett as well for giving him huge amounts of confidence.
The youngest-ever player to appear in the league for the club, Jones made his third appearance to date in Saturday’s defeat and it was his longest cameo yet.
And the youngster nearly capped it with an outstanding goal, but Blues keeper Daniel Bentley saved his curling strike.
Jones said: “I wouldn’t have celebrated because we were losing, but it did look like it was going in. I thought it was in, but I tried to stay calm and the keeper has pulled off a great save in the end.
“Wayne makes me feel very confident. When I get the ball he tells me not to pass. I do pass, but I like running at players and he wants me to do that and it makes me feel so confident on the ball and I feel I can do what I want.”
Jones was “disappointed” Daggers lost to Southend, but conceded it was brilliant to sign his professional contract.
And it was something he has thought about for a long time, he added: “It was a great moment for me and my family.
“I’ve wanted to get this contract since I was very young and to have signed it now is the best thing ever. It was very disappointing to lose to Southend. We could’ve done better, but we have just got to go again now.”