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Lee Bowyer makes Blues promise as James signs first professional deal

Jordan James has capped a memorable full debut for Birmingham City by signing his first professional deal.

The 17-year-old played every minute of the 1-0 victory over Blackpool and even had a hand in the winning goal when he headed the ball into the path of Lukas Jutkiewicz.

And after the match it was confirmed he has agreed terms on a contract that will keep him at Blues under the summer of 2024.

That is the next step in what has been a meteoric rise for the youngster, who has been in Blues’ academy since he was seven and spent several years travelling up from his hometown of Hereford to pursue his dream.

It all came true on a day when he put pen to paper and Blues secured the services of a promising youngster

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Head coach Lee Bowyer was impressed with his first league start.

“He played like he has been playing for a while, above his years definitely, he didn’t look fazed in possession, out of possession. He worked really hard out of possession for the team,” Bowyer said.

“In possession he was making forward runs not really giving the ball away, when we went to the diamond, he made a run in behind the full back, got in, crossed it and was brave enough to run into the box from Kristian’s cross for it to go to Jutkiewicz.

“I said to him after the game ‘You should be really proud with what you have just done’.

“He didn’t look tired to me at the end, I thought he played and managed the game really well.

“He doesn’t really give the ball away and he tries to play forward, tries to do the right things.

“Even in training, even in finishing, he finishes well. You are thinking ‘You know what he ticks all the boxes, there is something there’. You don’t just do that from luck.

“The only weak thing – and I was exactly the same as him at his age, even older, 19, he needs to improve on the other, defensive side of the game because a few times people ran off the back of him.

“But sometimes it’s enthusiasm because he wants to go and win you the ball. Sometimes you can’t win the ball you put yourself in a good defensive position.

READ: Birmingham City player ratings vs Blackpool: James rises to the occasion as Jutkiewicz wins it

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“These are things he will learn, he is 17-years-old. That’s not criticising him, it’s just saying he’s 17. Great in possession, out of possession, tries competes, goes up and fights to win headers.

“But he is going to get done now and again, experienced players get done as well. That’s just something we need to work on with him and that just takes time, that’s all.

“Obviously there will come a stage where he will play for the 23s, that’s natural, that will happen anyway. And when we need him we will use him.

“We know he won’t let us down so the most important thing for me is that he trains with us, keeps learning with the senior lads.

For as long as this is happening I have no worries about using him.

“If you are good enough you are old enough. Forget the age. He will be around us and I can assure he will get more minutes.”

James becomes the second Blues youngster this week to sign a professional deal, with George Hall doing likewise a few days ago.

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