Jonathan Cape has acquired Ross Raisin's third novel.
Raisin, from Yorkshire, is a previous Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award winner for his first novel, God's Own Country (Penguin), that was shortlisted for eight other awards including the Guardian First Book Award.
Publishing director Michal Shavit acquired UK & Commonwealth rights to the new novel, called A Natural, to be published in March 2017. Rights were acquired from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White.
The book is about a young football player at the start of his career that promises to give readers "unprecedented access to the claustrophobic, testosterone-fuelled world of professional football".
Its plot follows "shy introvert" Tom Pearman, aged 19 and tipped to be a star footballer, from his formative years training with a Premier League team, before his hopes of playing for his home club are dashed when he fails to secure a contract. Forced to play for a League 2 side, he has to navigate "dominant personalities" that rule the team.
Raisin is described by his publishers as drawing "a bold, absorbing portrait of masculinity, friendship and love against the high-stakes, high-pressure backdrop of competitive sport".
Shavit said: “Ross Raisin is one of the most exciting writers at work in the UK at the moment. With this novel he gives us a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of football, its unspoken rules and passions.”