Dael Fry ready to 'kick on' after signing first pro contract

Wednesday 15 Oct 2014
Dael Fry signing his first pro deal at Middlesbrough
England U18s international Dael Fry is ready to “kick on” with the next step of his development after penning his first professional contract with Middlesbrough.

The big defender, who was part of the Young Lions squad that won the European U17 Championship in Malta back in May, put pen to paper on a three-year-deal earlier this week at the north-east club.

Having joined the club’s academy at the age of seven, the Teessider is delighted to see a decade of hard work pay off.

"It feels excellent," Fry told MFC.co.uk. "I’ve worked hard for 10 years now. I came to the academy when I was about seven years old so every day I’ve been working hard and finally it’s paid off.

"I’ve always worked hard even as a kid. When I was younger I would come in an hour before training and kick balls with my left and right foot and I think that’s helped me a lot in getting to where I am now because if I didn’t do that I would still have a lot to brush up on."

Dael Fry wants to establish himself as first-choice defender for England U18s

Fry in action for England U18s

He continued: "I’ve had ups and downs myself with injuries and other problems, but that’s football and I’ve come back stronger."

Having broken into the U17 national side last season, Fry has moved up to the U18 England squad this term, appearing in all three of their matches.

His performances for Middlesbrough’s U18 side led to his international recognition, and the 17-year-old is clear about what his next target is.

"I’ve proved myself in the U18s and hopefully now I can get into the U21s," he said. "That’s the next step for me.

"A few players have left [Middlesbrough] in my position, so there’s a gap for me to step in now if I can keep training and progressing. 

"My performances for the U18s have got me a place in the England squad and we won the U17 European Championships last year which not many people get to do so it’s been great."

And on that Euro win, Fry added that it has made him even hungrier to taste further glory on the big stage, for both club and country.

"Winning the Championships was excellent. All the press were on it so I started getting more followers on Twitter and everything like that so it’s class.

"It still all hasn’t sunk in yet, when I won the Euro’s that night it was unbelievable but there’s always other things to look forward to like The FA Youth Cup this year and there’s always the next step. I like to just keep kicking on instead of dwelling on one achievement."

Dael Fry coming on against Belgium for his debut in January

Fry made his international debut in January 2014

England U18s will travel to Poland next month for a double-header, and the youngster will be hoping to be involved in Neil Dewsnip’s squad once again.

"The last international break was good. We played against Italy and got beat 2-0 but even though the result wasn’t very good I still played 90 minutes and I think I did well.

"It’s always nice to go away with other talented lads from around the country because you learn a lot and the experience is great."

He added: "When you go away with England the tempo steps up because you’re playing with some of the best lads in the country, lads from Chelsea who sometimes train with their first team, so it’s always good to learn from."

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer