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Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 14:51 UK

Leeds secure four academy stars

Kallum Watkins
Watkins scored at Millennium Magic against Bradford (Getty)

Leeds Rhinos have signed up four of their brightest young stars to new five-year contracts.

Danny Allan and Ben Jones-Bishop, who are both 19, Paul McShane, 18, and Kallum Watkins, 17, will now become full time first-team squad members.

"I believe this is as good a group as we have had in my time at the club," said chief executive Gary Hetherington.

"Our senior players are so helpful and being part of the first team squad next year will really help them."

Allan, Jones-Bishop and Watkins have already made their Rhinos debut this season, while hooker McShane is part of the England under-18 squad that jetted out to Australia this week, along with Watkins.

Allan said: "I am very pleased to have been offered and signed a long-term contract.

Having had a taste of the first team I want more of that but I have to keep learning

Kallum Watkins

"The credit for this goes to the people who have helped me in my early days back home in York, they set me on the way to this.

"Leeds are one of the biggest clubs in the world and I want to keep working hard to get a place in the first-team squad where there are so many internationals."

Watkins made his debut for the World Champions just after his 17th birthday and he explained: "It is an honour to play for Leeds and hopefully I can do that for a long time.

"Having had a taste of the first team I want more of that but I have to keep learning from the senior players here."



see also
Millennium Magic day two as it happened
04 May 08 |  Rugby League
Millennium Magic day one as it happened
03 May 08 |  Rugby League
Leeds 46-8 Huddersfield
11 Jul 08 |  Leeds


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