Manchester United have handed first professional contracts to goalkeeper Safia Middleton-Patel and defender Jess Simpson, both 18, becoming the 10th and 11th home-grown players to join the first-team since being reformed in 2018.
Middleton-Patel, who is already part of the senior Wales squad, joined United at the age of 15 and was part of the Under-21 WSL Academy League and Cup double winning side last season.
Simpson was also part of that Under-21 side and made her unofficial debut in the recent 10-0 friendly win over Birkirkara during the first-team’s winter training camp in Malta.
“I’m over the moon to sign professionally with Manchester United,” Middleton-Patel said
“It’s a surreal moment for me and my family. I have to say a massive thank you to all the staff – everyone has been amazing with me throughout my journey to get here.”
On her new deal, Simpson said, “I’m super excited to sign professional at this wonderful football club – It’s so special. It’s been such a good journey here, starting from 11 years old with the academy. It’s been my dream since being a little kid to play for Manchester United, and I’m living that dream now.”
United boss Marc Skinner commented that the club is ‘incredibly proud of its youth pathway’.
“Safia has made excellent steps for both club and country on her journey to this first professional contract – having been involved with both our United first team and the Welsh senior national side,” he said. “Jess is an exciting young talent, and we are delighted that she has signed her first professional contract with the club.”
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