Albion youngster Kevin Mfuamba celebrated turning 17-years-of-age by signing professional terms with the club on Friday.
The academy graduate - who first joined the Baggies' youth setup at the age of eight - has agreed a deal which keeps him at The Hawthorns until June 2026.
A towering central midfielder, Kevin grew up in Aston and caught the eye last season when he seamlessly stepped up to feature in Richard Beale’s Under-21s team, while also receiving his first international call-up to England’s U17s in January 2023.
And Mfuamba’s involvement in Carlos Corberán’s pre-season plans ahead of the 2023/24 season only increased excitement around the youth product’s potential - something which academy chief Richard Stevens is excited to see the prospect unlock more of this season after penning his pro deal.
Stevens said: “It’s outstanding news for Kevin and his family to be signing a pro contract on his 17th birthday, but for me as an Academy Manager it’s much bigger than that.
“I think it’s also a statement for the football club as well because we have to be an academy that show young players that there’s a path and opportunities here.
“We have to continue creating a culture now where young players want to stay and be a part of the future of this club.
“With Harry Whitwell last year, who excelled and will continue to going forwards, and Kev now it’s beginning to show you can be talented, you can be with the international team and you can stay at Albion.
“He’s had a lot to deal with while he’s been here and when you’re talented, young and get exposed early, you have to manage that carefully and as staff we’ve had to assess that.
“What Kevin’s been able to do is take that in his stride because it can be difficult when you go and play in the first team for pre-season friendlies, which is a real challenge at such a young age.
“But he’s shown enough to the senior staff to prove he has high potential and he’s also managed it himself and, if he has got things wrong along the way in his game, he’s been big enough to either demand the ball again or put things right next time around.
“The values we look for in an academy footballer at Albion I see in him and I think the culture is changing here.
“If you think about role models for the younger boys at this club, in Kev and Harry, and we’ve got two good examples there and it’s great news that Kevin will remain with us.”