Cambridge United are delighted to announce that 18-year old centre-back Harry Darling has put pen to paper on an extended four-year contract.
The exciting youngster, who signed his first professional deal with the Club in October 2016, has further committed his future to Cambridge United by lengthening his existing contract with the Club until June 2021.
Having grown up in Burwell and studied at Bottisham Village College, Darling first joined United at Under 13's level and following a short period in our Shadow Academy, went on to earn a full-time scholarship.
He made his first team professional debut against Scunthorpe United in the Checkatrade Trophy last season, in a year which also saw Darling captain the Club's youth team to a successful FA Youth Cup campaign, that culminated in a fourth round tie with Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.
More recently, Darling has spent a full pre-season within Shaun Derry's first team squad and made his second senior appearance against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup on his 18th birthday earlier this month.
Pleased to have penned an extended contract with the U's, Darling commented: "It's an honour to sign for another two years at the Club that I watched and supported when I was growing up.
"It has been about working hard to get the rewards, and that is what I will continue to do. That's what being a professional footballer is about.
"The goal now is to establish a place in the first team squad and hopefully gain some good experience over the next year, and then push on over the next two years.
"I'm lucky to have other defenders at this Club who have been involved in the game for so many years. Already I have learnt so much from those, asking them questions around the training ground and watching them play, so it's good for me to have that for my learning.
"I've had a taste of competitive football already this season, and it's given me an insight on what I need to continue to work on in order to play at that level regularly."
Meanwhile, Head of Football Operations Ben Strang added: "We're delighted to secure Harry's long-term future at the club. Harry earned the achievement of signing his first professional contract last season and at the earliest possible moment after his 18th birthday we have extended these terms for a player we believe can have an exciting career ahead of him.
"Harry knows that he must continue to work as hard as previously with the coaching staff to improve his all round game, and with Matt Walker to ensure that he continues to develop physically in preparation for the goal of playing regularly in our First Team. Huge credit also goes to Mark Bonner and all of the Academy staff for Harry's progression, particularly over the last two years.
"As a club we want to develop our own young players and ensure this process is managed correctly. Harry is a local boy, really talented and possesses the drive to break into our first team. With the professionalism, maturity and dedication he shows, we are confident that he can achieve that and more."