Orient’s Henry Ochieng feels signing his first professional contract will give him the extra motivation to push on following his recent first-team involvement.
The 17-year-old penned a two-year deal with the O’s last Friday and was delighted to be reaping the rewards for all the hard work.
“It is a dream come true for me to sign a professional contract, I’m buzzing,” Ochieng told leytonorient.com.
“I am happy that I have signed and now I can look forward to the rest of the season.
“There are some important games over the next few weeks for both the first team and the under-18s and getting the contract now has given me extra motivation to build on this.
Ochieng has been involved with the first-team of late, featuring on the bench on a number of occasions before making his debut in the Checkatrade Trophy encounter at Brighton and Hove Albion and the midfielder is keen to build on that.
“It has always been a dream to play for the first team at an early age. To get that first appearance under the belt was an amazing feeling,” he added.
“Over the next six months, playing and being around the first team should help me get used to the professional game and hopefully from there I can kick on.”
The O’s under-18s have remained unbeaten to date this season, stretching the run to 19 games following Saturday’s 2-0 triumph over Stevenage, and Ochieng admits it is an exciting group to be part of.
“The current under-18 group is a great one and we are friendly, like brothers really. It feels like a homely environment and it is a great bunch of boys to play alongside,” he remarked.
“The season has gone really well so far all the way from pre-season and as the weeks have gone on I have developed as a player, especially being integrated into the first team and playing well in the youth team.
“The management and how they have coached us over the last 3-4 years altogether means we have built a tight knit squad, showing our capabilities as a team and as individuals.
“This season has been one of my best so far and hopefully we can keep up the good run for as long as possible.”
The FA Youth Cup Third Round tie with Premier League champions Leicester City is drawing ever closer with the O’s making the trip to the King Power Stadium next Wednesday.
While the youngster is looking forward to the occasion, he admits there is plenty of hard work to put in between now and then on the training pitch.
“Everyone is buzzing for the FA Youth Cup and these next few weeks training and matches is crucial. We need to prepare for it well and ensure everyone keeps their head on the game,” said Ochieng.