CWMBRAN’S Jamie Bird is celebrating after signing his first professional contract with Championship club Cardiff City.

The 18-year-old forward has been part of the Bluebirds youth structure for 11 years.

He signed his contract at the weekend and was presented to the crowd along with fellow new pro Rhys Abbruzzese at half-time during last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Milton Keynes Dons at the Cardiff City Stadium.

A Cardiff City statement said: “The two Welsh youth internationals have played a key part in the Bluebirds’ under-18s squad, whilst also progressing to consistently make an impact at under-21 level.

“We’d like to congratulate both Rhys and Jamie for extending their time with City after such an impressive breakthrough year.”

Bird overcame a stress fracture before starting his apprenticeship at Cardiff aged just 15 and has progressed through the ranks over the past three years.

Along with Abbruzzese and Newport twins Elvis and Rollin Menayese, he helped the Bluebirds beat Newport County AFC on penalties in the semi-finals of last season’s FAW Youth Cup final.

He also played in the final when Cardiff were beaten by old rivals Swansea City.

This season he has enjoyed a loan spell with Elvis Menayese at Barry Town United in the Welsh Football League Division One.

And, after his return to Cardiff, Bird got to play against his beloved Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup at Tranmere’s Prenton Park ground.

“The loan at Barry was the making of him,” said proud dad Mark.

“He was playing against grown men and in six games he was voted man of the match three times.

“And we’re both big Liverpool fans so seeing him play against them was a fantastic moment – hopefully there are many more to come.

“His mum Jennifer and I are really proud of what he’s achieved so far,” he added.

“It’s massive and he deserves it because he’s been there since he was seven and he’s made a lot of sacrifices.

“But he knows that the hard work starts now and we just hope he can push on and make a career out of it now.”