An All White has signed professional terms with a club that was once home to Kevin Keegan, Ian Botham and Ray Clemence.

Clayton Lewis has agreed terms with Scunthorpe United, one of the oldest clubs in the English football league, and earlier this week received his work visa for the United Kingdom

Scunthorpe were in the Championship as recently as 2011, but are currently in League One (the third tier of English football).

It's a big move for Lewis, who has had trials at various professional clubs in the northern hemisphere over the last three years, and has been one of the most impressive players on the local scene. He was given his international debut by Anthony Hudson in March 2015 against Korea, and has made 10 appearances for the All Whites since then, as well as featuring at two Under-20 World Cups.


The 20-year-old was a standout for Auckland City in their various campaigns last year, and his ongoing development was confirmed by his head turning displays at the Confederations Cup in June.

"It's massive and I can't wait to get over there," Lewis told the Herald. I always wanted to get this opportunity; you dream of being a professional at something you love."

Lewis fielded several offers after shining in Russia, where he set up Chris Wood's goal against Mexico and made another opportunity for the Burnley striker with a precise through ball. He weighed up offers from Sweden, Germany and Russia, but Scunthorpe was always his first choice.

"I thought the UK would be the best option for me," said Lewis. "I like the way Scunthorpe play and have a lot of respect for [coach] Graham Alexander. I'm looking forward to contributing to the team."

Scunthorpe was founded in 1889. They have mostly been in the lower two divisions throughout their history, but have spent three different periods in the second tier.

Keegan, who was twice named European footballer of the year in the 1970s and won championships with Liverpool and Hamburg, as well as the UEFA and European Cups, is their most illustrious graduate. He played 124 games for the Iron before moving to Liverpool. Clemence also spent time at Scunthorpe, while cricketer Botham played 11 matches for the club in the 1980-81 season. Swansea's Jack Cork is the latest to emerge out of the Scunthorpe nursery, while others such as Neil Pointon and Matt Elliott came through in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lewis hasn't played since the Confederations Cup. There was a period where he was weighing up different offers, then a prolonged spell while the paperwork was finalised.

He's been training by himself, as well as joining Auckland City for some pre-season sessions, and is set to leave for England on Friday.

"It's great it is all sorted," said Lewis. "This is a new start for me."