NEW Saints arrival Josh Jeffries is “a boyhood fan who’s worked his socks off”, with his Eastleigh coach Jason Brookes declaring: “He could really do something.”

The 16-year-old goalkeeper has signed dream full-time terms at Staplewood after completing a successful trial period with the Premier League club.

Jeffries is a product of neighbouring Eastleigh’s scholarship programme and has also briefly played local men’s football for AFC Totton while at Spitfires.

He has joined the club on a full-time scholarship deal, not to the surprise of coach Brookes, who takes the second-year scholar group that Jeffries has been competing in this season.

Daily Echo: Eastleigh coach Jason Brookes (Pic: Tom Mulholland)Eastleigh coach Jason Brookes (Pic: Tom Mulholland)

He told the Daily Echo: “It was quite apparent that he was obviously one of the ones, he’s a big lad, confident and he kicked on early.

“He was one of the goalkeepers that showed real promise, and we’ve got four or five others.

“He's still 16 going on 17 and he has been playing in an under-19s league this year looking absolutely fine, not out of place at all – if anything, producing some of the best performances.

“I can see someone like him hopefully for three or four years at Southampton continuing his development, there’s no limit for him. He could go on to make a career in the professional game for sure.”

Daily Echo: Josh Jeffries signs his Saints contract (Pic: Isabelle Field | SFC)Josh Jeffries signs his Saints contract (Pic: Isabelle Field | SFC)

Jeffries made the bench for Dave Horseman’s B team in Premier League 2 – under-23 competition – for their 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest at the end of February.

He continued to impress on his trial, going on to land permanent terms with his boyhood side.

“I was speaking with him throughout it and he was giving me feedback,” Brookes added.

“Jason Bristow (head of youth development) was in contact with Southampton, Mikey Harris down there, I think they were quite impressed which has led to his opportunity now to sign permanently.

Daily Echo: Jason Brookes and his Eastleigh under-19 side (Pic: Tom Mulholland)Jason Brookes and his Eastleigh under-19 side (Pic: Tom Mulholland)

“He’s one who is a boyhood Southampton fan, he’s worked his socks off and he’s one of those who deserves it and you want to see get a chance.”

He continued: “I spoke to him the other day just to say well done, you deserve it and keep doing what you’re doing and pushing on.

“In the goalkeeper position, being so young and being as good as he is, if he keeps his feet on the ground with a good head on his shoulders he could really do something.”

Jeffries is the next in a handful of Brookes’ Eastleigh scholars to draw attention from professional clubs, after England schoolboys Tom Gruzewski and Joe Adams.

Adams, 17, signed an 18-month professional contract at League One Wigan Athletic in February, after impressing in Jeffries’ age group.

“This year we’ve had Tom who has been recently called up and is playing for England schoolboys, being looked at by a few clubs,” Brookes added.

“Joe Adams eventually signing for Wigan where he has been doing well, Josh now going to Southampton.

“Josh was one that got into the FA Youth Cup last year as a first-year, which is quite rare. They’re normally made up of second-years and he got into the squad which showed how well he was doing.”