THE hard work starts now for Corsham teenager Alex Bray after he earned his first professional contract at Swansea City.
The 17-year-old winger, who is a former Corsham School pupil, became a first-year pro at the Liberty Stadium last month after impressing for the Swans’ U21 Development side this season.
Bray was released by Swindon Town two seasons ago before being snapped up by Swansea and the youngster had even more cause for celebration when he earned a call-up to the Wales U19 squad.
However, a hamstring injury robbed him of the chance to make his debut in Wales’ 3-0 win over Northern Ireland on May 1.
Nevertheless, Bray is hoping that he can follow in the footsteps of Wiltshire star Nathan Dyer and make his mark at Swansea.
“When I got released by Swindon, I went on trial at Swansea and my last game before I got signed ended up being against my old team,” said the Swans’ rookie.
“I started playing regularly for the U21s just after Christmas and when they told me that I was getting a one-year deal, they said that they probably wouldn’t have offered it to me six months ago.
“They did explain why I was getting it but as soon as I knew, I stopped listening to be honest because I was so happy – it’s a big thing for me and I’m proud.
“Being at Swansea is great and the facilities are top notch now that the club has got up into the Premier League.
“There’s a long way to go from being a first-year pro though and if you get a proper contract next year, that’s when you can think about going out on loan or trying to push for the first-team.
“The hard work starts now really and I’ve got to give 110 per cent next season.”
Bray’s dad Marcus, who lives in Box, made over 500 appearances for Trowbridge Town and played during the club’s spell in the Conference.
He said: “Back when I played for Trowbridge, I got a bit of a reputation for getting sent off 21 times – that was back when you could tackle.
“Alex is a skilful right-winger and he’s nothing like his dad. I haven’t been one of those pushy parents and he’s done his own thing to get into football.
“I’m very proud of him for what he’s achieved so far.”
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