Reported Manchester United transfer target Stephen Walker has signed his first professional contract at Sky Bet Championship club Middlesbrough according to the Express.

The 17-year-old attacking midfield ace has not yet represented Boro at first team level but has been involved with the club’s under-18s and with the under-23s squad in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy.

It has previously been suggested that scouts from former English Premier League champions Manchester United have been keeping a close eye on the player’s development and news that the youngster has signed a professional deal on Teesside means that The Red Devils would need to offer a significant transfer fee to have any chance of signing Walker in the future.

Walker’s promising start to his senior footballing career has seen the midfielder represent England at under-17 level and the player is expected to represent his country at higher youth levels in the coming years. The youngster represented The Three Lions in the Algarve Cup earlier this year where he featured heavily for Steve Cooper’s young side.

Domestically, Walker has been in excellent form this season with the player scoring five goals already for Boro’s under-18s from his attacking midfield role.

The step up to the club’s development squad is likely to be the player’s next challenge and further good performances will only strengthen his claims for a first team opportunity.

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I am Dan Pentland and I am a York City season ticket holder and volunteer for men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK. In May 2015, I completed my childhood dream of visiting all 92 Football League grounds. Follow me on Twitter @DanPentlandpcuk and Facebook