The Imps have offered a first professional contract to 17-year-old Irish defender Sean Roughan, who has impressed in the academy.
Roughan is very highly thought of at Sincil Bank and he has now penned a professional contract with the club, after featuring not only for the academy but also the Eire Under 17 side last season. He has been with the club for a year thus far and said he is now delighted to have turned professional.
Sean said he’s felt right at home. “When I first came on trial, I really enjoyed it and felt really good. I was offered a scholarship before I went home, which was just before Christmas, and a really nice present at the time.
“I came over a couple more times before joining full-time and was getting used to playing football for Lincoln, I really enjoyed it and felt right at home. Since I’ve been here as a Scholar, it’s been nothing but good for me. The club has wanted the best for me both on and off the field and I really want to pay them back.”
Sean’s arrival was something of a coup for the club, which even arranged for a tutor to help academy players achieve their leaving certificate, the Irish equivalent of ‘A’ levels. The Irish market has been kind to us in the past with the likes of Gareth McAuley and Jeff Hughes, with Roughan reportedly showing as much promise as both would have had at the same age.
Indeed, chatting to people behind the scenes, there is real hope the youngster can progress to be a part of the first team setup, although there is also a desire not to heap too much pressure on his shoulders early. Either way, Jez George revealed how delighted he is to have been a part of delivering the first professional contract for the youngster.
“This is a fantastic moment for Sean and a proud one for his family, who have supported him brilliantly since he left Ireland to join us last July. Sean made great progress throughout last season and we feel that he is a player of real potential, hence offering him a professional contract at the earliest possible opportunity.”
“We are absolutely delighted that he has trusted us with his continued development and committed his future to Lincoln City.”
I’ve been very aware of Roughan all season, not least because he played in the first team friendly against Sheffield United back in October. Even then, there was an element of excitement around his potential and recently, when discussing the arrival of Lewis Montsma, it was also mentioned that Sean Roughan had similar qualities that Michael looked for in a centre back.
This signing won’t make or break our season, but it is another reason to be positive about the direction the academy is taking. I know some sceptics will point to the Ellis situation and question the commitment to bring through our own youngsters, but I have little doubt that we will keep seeing players coming through, not necessarily ones from Lincoln, but hopefully players with international youth honours like Sean, who can go on to become either key players for the club.