ISAAC Hutchinson has spoken of his joy after signing his first professional contract at Southend United.

The 18-year-old, who has scored once in nine games for Blues’ first team this season, has signed a two and a half year deal at Roots Hall.

And the attacking midfielder is thrilled to have put pen to paper.

“I’m really pleased, it’s another step in the right direction and hopefully I can push on now,” said Hutchinson.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here since joining in the summer and everyone has helped me massively.”

Hutchinson joined the Shrimpers last summer after being released by Brighton & Hove Albion.

And the youngster opted to join Blues ahead of a move abroad.

“I had an offer from Sparta Prague, so quite a big European club, but I came on trial and really enjoyed it here,” said Hutchinson.

“Ricky [Duncan] spoke to me a lot and I liked what he said and how the club sounded and wanted to be a part of it.

“I heard about the likes of Elvis [Bwomono] and Dru [Yearwood] and I couldn’t think of a better place to come.

“My debut against Cambridge really kick-started things and I’d like to think since then I’ve improved.

“The manager has put a lot of faith in me and given me starts in the League so that speaks for itself.”

And Blues boss Chris Powell is also pleased to have secured Hutchinson’s future.

“The story is quite a heart-warming one because Hutch had been at Brighton for a while and got released,” said Powell.

“He came in after a trial and Rick and Kev (Maher) saw a player who had a lot of talent who we felt would give an opportunity to and he’s grabbed it.

“He’s impressed since the first day he’s come here and this season he’s gone up a notch.

“He’s a creator but he’s got an eye for goal wherever he plays.

“He’s impressed with his work rate, with his quality and with his willingness to improve.

“He does a lot of extra work which is a good trait to have at a young age and he’s really made a good impression on all the staff at the football club so it’s a contract that is well deserved.”