BLACKFIELD & Langley have signed sought-after youngster Josh Hanratty from Christchurch.

  The 17-year-old midfielder spent a year with Saints academy before his release at the end of 2012 but, judging by the amount of interest in him, a professional career may yet beckon.

 Aston Villa and AFC Bournemouth have both been monitoring his progress and Blackfield assistant manager Chris Farrell believes the talented teenager has what it takes to go higher.

 Farrell said: "Josh has been courted by a number of pro clubs and has had offers in abundance from clubs higher up the non-League ladder.

 "I don't take the view that Josh is an emerging talent, he has already emerged. It's exciting when you sign a player who has been courted by so many clubs.

 "Josh is really good on the ball and will enhance whatever team we put on the pitch next season. When we went to Christchurch last season and won 1-0, he stood out like a beacon."

 Having won the Sydenhams Premier title two seasons ago, Blackfield intend being one of the main contenders again next term.

 "We had conversations with Josh's father Lee and went through our plans for next season," said Farrell.

 "Josh has aspirations to get back with a League club but he's 17 and he's got to finish his A-levels.

 "His father feels that he needs to play for a strong Wessex League side."  


*More on this story and all the latest from the regional non-League scene in Saturday’s Pink.