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Francois ‘honoured’ to sign pro deal with City

Academy winger Marlee Francois say it is a lifelong dream come true after signing his first professional contract.

The 18-year-old has agreed terms with the Robins on a two-and-a-half-year deal after impressing within the youth setup.

He joined the Robins at 16-years-old after a successful trial period.

Francois had been part of the Academy at Fulham prior to that but would suffer disappointment when he wasn’t offered a scholarship.

Not that the experience would prevent him from picking himself up and he took his chance when City came along, adding how Academy Manager Gary Probert and Player Pathway Manager Brian Tinnion have been influential.

Marlee Francois interview: Watch in full

“I think it helped me mentally,” Francois explained. “I think it made me tougher and more resilient having been released at such a young age, so it helped me but then Bristol City helped my confidence and got me back to my best form.

“It’s been a good experience training with the players every day with the staff who have developed me both as a person and as a player so it’s been good.

“They (Probert and Tinnion) were perfect. They gave me confidence, they were reassuring and they’ve helped me to reach my career so far.”

He added: “It’s a great moment for my family and it’s something I’ve been working for my whole life. I’m honoured it’s with such a great club Bristol City.”

Francois is a winger with the Under-23s and notes Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho as his idols growing up. “I like the way they play but I also like Ronaldo’s mentality and that’s always been an inspiration for me,” he said. It was that drive and personality he worked on when he first kicking a ball in the back garden of his home, alongside his brother Tyrese who now plays for Fulham.

“My brother and I were always practising in the garden, always driving each other to get to the next level I’s always been our dream to become professional footballers,” he said.

Francois is now looking to the future, encouraged by previous Under-23s players such as Owura Edwards, Sam Bell and Ryley Towler who have all featured for the first team this season.

“It gives me motivation because these are players I’ve trained with day in, day out. They’ve been good role models to become a better player as well,” he said.

“Bristol City are obviously going in the right direction and the future is looking positive.”

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