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Fulham Snap Up Promising Basingstoke Youngster

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SkyBet Championship side Fulham have signed youngster Rob Atkinson from Evo-Stik League South Premier club Basingstoke Town.

The 19-year-old will initially play for the Cottagers` under-23 side, having already featured for the Whites this season in the PL2 against Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa.

Atkinson is a versatile defender capable of featuring at centre-back or on the left, who likes to play out from the back.

He spent his formative youth years in France, developing his skills at the AS Cannes academy before returning to the UK.

He is an accomplished Futsal player, having played for Reading’s FA National Futsal Super League team, and has been selected for England’s under-19 side.

He joined Basingstoke at the start of the 2016/17 season, where he was named their player of the year in a campaign that culminated with them winning the Hampshire Senior Cup.

“We are delighted that Rob Atkinson has agreed to join us from Basingstoke Town,” Fulham`s academy director Huw Jennings told his club`s website. “He came in and played two under-23 games against Brighton and Aston Villa and performed very well for us.

“We fended off competition from three other clubs, one Premier League club and two other Championship clubs, and we are delighted to have him.”

Atkinson said: “To have a club like Fulham come in and offer me a contract, I’m obviously delighted.

“I like to think of myself as a ball-playing centre-half who can bring the ball out, but I can do the dirty work as well.

“I’ve played in non-league; things aren’t pretty down there most of the time. I can play both ways.

“Academy football is going to be new to me, especially at under-23 level, I’ve never played it before.

“So, going back to youth football is going to be an interesting one but I am looking forward to the challenge.

“The end goal is to play for the first team on a regular basis and I will be looking to do that. I don’t particularly want to play Under-23s football until I am 23, I want to get out of it and play adult football because that is where it is all at.”

Basingstoke will receive a compensation fee from Fulham.

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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