EDDIE Howe believes Steve Hewitt has a bright future ahead of him after Burnley yesterday confirmed that the young midfielder has signed his first professional contract with the club.

As revealed in the Lancashire Telegraph last week, the Clarets opted to offer the 17-year-old a deal after being impressed with his development and it has now been announced that he has penned a contract until the summer of 2014.

Hewitt, formerly with Blackburn Rovers and Stockport, has already been on the bench for two first-team matches this season – the Carling Cup games against Barnet and MK Dons – although he is yet to make his competitive debut.

“We have high hopes for Stevie,” said Clarets boss Howe, who is keen to give opportunities to younger players.

“We have fast tracked him because sometimes you identify talented players.

“It’s quite easy to see that Stevie has a lot of talent.

“He has great attributes and we want him involved in the first team, as we do with all the development players.

“It’s obviously difficult involving everybody at times, but he is one that we think can go a long way in the game.

“He was an impressive performer in pre-season for us and has been involved in the first team set-up for a while. "This is a reward for all of his hard work.”