Daniel Hollands has signed a three-year scholarship deal with Chelsea.

The 16-year-old, from Felpham, is also in line for a one-year professional contract.

He said: "I'm really excited. It is the best contract you can get for someone in my position."

It is Hollands' second deal in six years with Chelsea.

He said: "I signed for four years when I was 12. The normal length at the stage is two years.

"It is flattering to think they must rate me."

Hollands' school also helped.

The midfielder, who has just left Felpham Community College, said: "They let me have a day release every Tuesday because they had high expectations of me doing well as a footballer.

"I had to travel an hour from my home each week but it was well worth it."

Hollands has trained with Chelsea's first team, reserves and youth players.

He said: "I've been working with the likes of Boudewijn Zenden and Mikael Forsell.

"It has been difficult to keep up because they are so quick-thinking but I have learned so much.

"I have had a lot of advice from players like Zenden, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Gianfranco Zola . They are nice people. Some of the first teamers, though, can be a bit grumpy."

He has played three matches for Chelsea under-19s, including games against Charlton and Tottenham.

Hollands regularly competed for the under-16s, once scoring a penalty against Arsenal at Highbury.

"Highbury is the best ground the team play at, so that was a bit special."

Hollands has enjoyed success at schools' level and helped Sussex under-16s reach the South East Schools' Cup semi-finals last season.

Hollands said: "I finished top scorer with five goals from midfield. I like to shoot and dribble a bit."

He also skippered Felpham to the Sussex Schools and West Sussex (West) Under-16s Cups.

"I feel I lead by example and offer words of encouragement."

Hollands first caught the eye at under-11s when he took part in the Alandia Cup in Finland with Staines Town.

He said: "I got a hat-trick in the final and it's my biggest achievement to date, along with earning my latest deal with Chelsea. There were more than 1,000 people watching the final. I was on Finnish radio and in their papers. I can't read Finnish, but I've kept the cuttings."

The link with the Blues came through his father Tim, a former defender with Hampton and Richmond.

"My dad knew some Chelsea scouts and they took a look. Dad has been a big help, but the main reason I want to be a professional footballer comes from within me."

Hollands, though, hopes he can emulate his father in one respect.

"My dad holds the all-time record of appearances for Hampton and Richmond, it is over a 1,000. I hope I can play that many times for Chelsea."

His ambition is to play for England.

"I watched the World Cup this summer and it would be the ultimate to be involved in something like that."

But for the time being he has to establish a foothold in the full-time ranks.

He will be involved an international under-17s club tournament at Keele University next month.

"There will be teams from Manchester United, Fulham and other clubs, some from abroad. I'm looking forward to it."

Bryn Hawxwell, his PE teacher at Felpham, added: "I'm confident he can make it."

Chelsea assistant manager Gwyn Williams said: "Daniel has shown a good attitude on the field and revealed dedication and commitment on and off the pitch. If he makes the progress we hope then he will earn a professional contract."

After completing his GCSEs, Hollands has plunged into full-time football. All the signs are that he will be an A grade student.

ALEX Bryant hopes all his games will be as comfortable as his Albion first team debut.

The 17-year-old goalkeeper from Worthing helped the Seagulls to a 3-0 friendly win at non-League Crawley.

Bryant replaced Michel Kuipers with six minutes left.

He said: "I only touched the ball twice and neither was a save. It'd be all right if all my games are as easy as that.

"But of course they won't be!

"I'm delighted to have made my first team debut. It was a great experience."

Bryant got pre-match encouragement from the club's goalkeeping coach John Keeley after earning a call-up because Will Packham was sidelined with injury.

He said: "John told me on Friday morning that I was in for the following day. I was so happy. I didn't feel nervous or scared, just pleased and excited. John told me to play my normal game."

Bryant impressed Martin Hinshelwood when the new Albion boss was director of youth at the club.

The goalkeeper said: "I'm pleased that he's got the job because he's a very nice man and shown he is prepared to use young players."