Dereham footballer makes debut after going pro with Peterborough United

Ashton Fox, from Dereham, pictured after signing his first professional contract with Peterborough United

Ashton Fox, from Dereham, pictured after signing his first professional contract with Peterborough United - Credit: Joe Dent/theposh.com

Dereham footballer Ashton Fox has made his debut for Peterborough United after signing his first professional contract with the League One outfit. 

Fox played an hour for Posh as they drew 2-2 with Barnet of the National League in a 120-minute pre-season friendly.

Ashton Fox, from Dereham, pictured in action for Peterborough United against Barnet in a pre-season friendly

Ashton Fox, from Dereham, pictured in action for Peterborough United against Barnet in a pre-season friendly - Credit: Joe Dent/theposh.com

The teenager came on at half-time on Saturday (July 16), when the visitors were 2-0 down. 

It capped off a remarkable week for the former Dereham Town defender, who had only just signed two-year deal with United following a trial. 

The 18-year-old's dad, Johnny Fox - himself a former Dereham Town goalkeeper - said he was over the moon at his son's achievements. 

"I'm really proud because I have seen all the hard work he has put in," he added. 

"Most kids his age like going out. Ashton is the type of lad to be outside on Boxing Day morning at one of the local parks doing some sprints. 

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"Getting a pro contract is his dream. This is everything he has been working towards."

Mr Fox revealed that expectations going into the trial had been low after Posh said they were not looking for any more centre-backs. 

"He went in there thinking he'd give his best, but didn't really expect anything," he said. 

Ashton Fox in action for Dereham Town during the 2021-22 season

Ashton Fox in action for Dereham Town during the 2021-22 season - Credit: Dereham Town FC

"They had a game on the Saturday and he played well. Barry Fry came up to him afterwards and said 'is it going to cost me much to buy you out of your Dereham contract?'"

Fox joined Dereham Town aged 13 and came through the ranks at the club's Personal Best Soccer set-up. 

He progressed to Dereham Education Soccer Academy (DESA), which combines playing football with classroom learning. 

Along the way, Fox switched from playing centre-midfield to centre-back and became a mainstay in the Magpies' first team last season.

Ashton Fox

Ashton Fox, from Dereham, pictured in action for Peterborough United in a pre-season friendly - Credit: Joe Dent/theposh.com

He even had the honour of pulling on his country's shirt earlier in the year, as he was selected and made captain for England Schoolboys.

Fox senior believes previous disappointment had made his son more determined to succeed. 

"It's not so long ago he was debating giving up, but I said 'you have got to keep going'," added Mr Fox. 

"He's had knock-backs from Hull, Ipswich and Cambridge, but I think he went in with the right mindset this time."