A DELIGHTED Josh Ashby admitted it was a “dream” to sign professional terms with Oxford United.

The club rate the youth team midfielder highly, as shown by the length of contract.

Ashby, 17, has put pen to paper on an initial three-year deal, with the U’s retaining an option for two further seasons.

Born in Oxford, he was thrilled to have the chance to stay on at the club.

“It’s something you dream of; to be a professional footballer at your local club,” he said.

“I will not get carried away though.

“Chris Allen (youth team manager) has been great and has always said that if you work hard enough you will get your opportunity.

“I just want to keep working at my game and make the step up from youth team games to training and playing as a professional.”

Ashby was a key player in United’s best FA Youth Cup run for a decade this season, scoring in every game during the run to the fourth round.

He follows in the footsteps of local players such as Josh Ruffels and Callum O’Dowda, who have both featured regularly for the first team this season.

United chairman Ian Lenagan said: “It is great to see talented young footballers from Oxford as part of the first-team squad.

“Josh is a player we all hold in great regard.”