OXFORD United have handed professional contracts to three scholars.

Manny Agboola and Malachi Napa are rewarded with one-year deals, while Shandon Baptiste has been given six months to impress after missing the second half of the 2016/17 season with a shoulder injury.

The trio will now be involved with United’s first-team on a day-to-day basis, with head coach Michael Appleton urging them to follow the likes of Canice Carroll in establishing themselves as part of his matchday squad.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for them,” he said. “They are all good young players with great attitudes and deserve their chance.

“Manny is a big, strong goalkeeper who has already been on the bench for the first team.

“I know that Wayne Brown (goalkeeping coach) thinks very highly of him.

“Malachi is a lively winger who has bags of skill and pace, and Shandon is a really promising central midfielder.

“He has been a bit unlucky with injuries, but is one we felt deserved more time to show us what he can do.

“With Canice Carroll already stepping up into the first team it’s another good year for the youth team and shows what great work Leon Blackmore Such, Andy Whing and all the other coaches and staff do.”

Napa was understandably thrilled at his progression to the senior ranks.

“Football has always been part of my life and I it’s the only thing I have wanted to do,” he said.

“My family originated in Zimbabwe and South Africa and although they were really into football, they didn’t have the opportunity.

“I joined Oxford in 2015 and the two-year scholarship has been really tough – much tougher than I thought.

“But that’s pushed me on and will stand me in good stead.”

Baptiste was relieved to be given the chance to impress after enduring a frustrating period on the sidelines.

“I dislocated my shoulder in November, he said.

“I came back, but did it again and was told I had to have an operation.

“The six-month contract to make up for the time I missed was a big relief.

“It was one of the proudest moments of my life to be offered the contract.”