Grays Athletic manager Jamie Stuart says Kai Brown has all the attributes to make it as a professional footballer after signing for Ipswich Town.

The 16-year-old midfielder, who has made 37 appearances for Blues, had been trialling with the Tractor Boys since before Christmas.

And, having passed a medical at Portman Road, Brown is now the newest scholar at the club.

And Stuart, who promoted Brown to the first team after a number of sparkling displays for the under-18s, had nothing but positive things to say about the youngster.

“I spoke with [youth team coach] Phil Sackey and he told me to come and look at this lad’s potential and I was impressed.

“He and a number of young players got involved in training and Kai in particular impressed me. I told him I wanted him to play with confidence.

“He had some fantastic games for us and although he got a few whacks and was caught a few times he always carried on.

“He is a great lad and I spent time talking to his dad Wayne who is a fantastic gentleman.

“There was interest for a professional clubs. I spoke to Kai’s dad and said you must do what’s best for Kai. He came in to our team and did very well and although it will be tough for him it will be a great experience either way.

“As long as he keeps that hunger, he can go all the way.

“He is young but age is just a number. Look at me. I am 41 and was playing last season. These boys always have a chance.

“I remember when I was playing with Margate I played against Grays and Freddie Ladapo was there. I remember thinking in all the games I had played there were not many as good as him. I spoke to Mark Bright at Crystal Palace and he got a move down the line and there are others here that have potential as well.”

Grays, who were beaten 2-1 at Mildenhall Town in the Isthmian North on Saturday, has also bid farewell to Jamie Slabber.

The striker, who was in his third spell at the club, re-joined in the summer and Stuart says he has departed on good terms.

And he has also revealed his excitement at two new faces joining the club this week.

“I am good mates with Jamie and we stay in contact outside of football too,” said Stuart. “He is getting older, has been getting a few niggles and he travels down from Hertford. He did well for us and gave his all but Grays has to come first.

“I need to look at the club and it is all on good terms we have parted ways.

“I have made a few signings. Striker Tommy Wade joins from Hertford which I am excited about. He has already scored against us twice this season and Dennis Oli is also joining. Dennis is a real fans favourite and I am so pleased to have got him.”

Oli previously scored 40 goals in 135 appearances at Grays between 2005 and 2008.