Ireland under-19 defender Thomas O'Connor signs new two-year deal with Southampton

Mon, Jan 14 2019

Credit: Southampton FC

The swelling Irish contingent at Southampton shows few signs of going away as centre-half Thomas O’Connor has signed a two-year extension to his pro deal.

The Kilkenny native, who was named captain of the club’s under-23 Premier League side at the beginning of the season, has been at St Mary’s since making the move from New Ross Celtic in 2015.

19-year-old O’Connor was a midfielder entering the Saints’ academy but has excelled since being moved back to centre-half by under-23 coach Radhi Jaidi.

Having seen his former Ireland under-19 teammate Michael Obafemi make the step up to the senior ranks, O’Connor said the club’s record with young players was a key factor in his decision.

"It feels really good," O’Connor told the club’s official website.

"I've been here nearly five years now, and I've enjoyed every moment. I'm delighted to sign a new deal and hopefully I can keep improving.

"My target was always to reach the first team. The next step is the most difficult step, but I'm working towards it.

"Seeing all the academy graduate names on the teamsheet recently gives you a great boost and shows that the new manager really values young players.

"You know if you're performing, and working hard, you have a chance of being noticed."