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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Gareth Fullerton

Northern Ireland teen footballer joins Lionel Messi and Mo Salah in elite club

Northern Ireland teenager Patrick Kelly has joined an illustrious club including Lionel Messi, Mo Salah and Paul Pogba after being signed by Adidas to become one of their official athletes.

The 18-year-old West Ham United midfielder has put pen-to-paper on a three-year deal with the global sports brand.

He also becomes the first footballer from Northern Ireland to become one of Adidas' brand partners.

Read more: That's What I Call Football podcast S5 Ep13

Kelly rubberstamped the contract on Wednesday in what is a huge endorsement for the Portstewart native.

He joined West Ham from Coleraine back in July last year on a three-year professional contract, and has gone on to hit the ground running at the Premier League club's academy.

Kelly has starred for the Hammers' Under 18 squad and has already trained with the club's Under 21s.

After joining West Ham last summer, he said: "I’m delighted to join West Ham. This is a great opportunity for me.

"I’ve worked hard over the last couple of years, and I think West Ham is a good club for me to come into and continue my development, do well and hopefully have a good career in the game.

“The names that have come through the Academy of Football and gotten chances are well known, so there is definitely a pathway here. It’s on the players to show they have what it takes, so I’m excited for that chance.”

Coaches at West Ham have already compared the Northern Ireland underage international to England international Declan Rice following a series of commanding displays in midfield.

Patrick Kelly signs his deal with agent, Lee Mudd from CAA Sports (Lee Mudd)

This season Kelly has mainly featured in the Under 18 Premier League, but has also played in Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy.

Last summer he became the third Northern Ireland U19 international to join the Hammers over the past three years following the arrivals of Michael Forbes and Callum Marshall.

Former Linfield teen Josh Briggs also joined West Ham last August.


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