Academy scholar has been with Baggies for 10 years
TYLER Roberts has taken the next step in his blossoming Albion career - signing his first-ever professional Baggies contract.
The Academy scholar, who celebrated his 17th birthday on Tuesday, has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal, committing his future to The Hawthorns until summer 2018.
He has been with the Club since he was seven.
Roberts has twice been named in the matchday squad, for last season's fixture against Arsenal and the recent home clash with Stoke.
The youngster spoke of his delight, but was also quick to thank the staff who had nurtured and coached him during the last 10 years.
On signing the new deal, Roberts said:
"It feels wonderful. It's something I've been working towards since I was seven. To have finally got here is an immense feeling.
"Finally having that sense of achievement is good and being on the bench a couple of times was a great experience for me too.
"We have some great coaches at Academy level. Whether it was doing individual work, advice, coaching...they've been amazing."
Roberts claims his best role is as a 'No.9' or as a wide player.
Asked about the advice he had been given by Academy staff, Roberts continued:
"They told me to use this as a stepping stone. To not settle for this, but push myself on and become a regular in the first-team squad.
"I was told to keep doing what I'm doing. If I do then maybe the chances will come. I thank them and also my family."
Academy Manager Mark Harrison praised Roberts' achievement, before challenging him to continue his progress.
"It is a fantastic that we are able to reward a player who has been with us for so many years.
"He now becomes a role model for all the kids who start their journey with us.
"Tyler has done it through hard work, perseverance and with support from his family.
"But hopefully this is only a milestone in his journey - Tyler needs to see this as a platform to becoming a regular member of the first-team squad."
Tony Pulis also laid down his own challenges for the youngster, who trained with Wales' senior squad last summer.
"I'm delighted for the lad. He’s a wonderful player, a wonderful talent.
"But this is the first step. What he can't do now is relax or take any steps back. He has to keep striving to improve."