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Club News

Professional deals for youngsters

6 May 2016

With the SteelPhalt Academy continuing the tradition of producing young talent that progresses through to the first-team, United can confirm that six scholars have signed professional contracts for the 2016/17 season.


England youth stopper Aaron Ramsdale, Republic of Ireland defender Graham Kelly, Northern Irish midfielder Shea Gordon and exciting forward Kimarni Smith, along with young prospects Connor Hall and Nathaniel Crofts have all penned deals with the Blades which will see them continue through the ranks, initially with the development squad.


Ramsdale, who has caught the eye for both the U21s and U18s this season, recently impressed on his England U18s debut in a 4-1 victory over Republic of Ireland at St George's Park, whilst left-back Kelly has been in and around the first-team in recent weeks - both were on duty at Coventry last week.


Meanwhile, Gordon, who has previously skippered the youth team, has impressed having made the step up to the U21s this term and was another who gained international honours in March, playing every minute for his country in three consecutive qualifying games in the Netherlands.


The success of United's scouting system of identifying young local talent and developing it certainly applies to the remaining trio. Smith joined the Blades from Basford United earlier this season and has progressed through the U18s and into the U21s, scoring key goals for both age groups this term.


Whilst striker Hall has impressed mainly for the U18s since joining as a scholar from the FAB Academy, having caught the eye of United staff whilst on trial with the club and winger Crofts recently became the second player to make the grade having come through the United's Futures programme, following a number of impressive displays for the youth team whilst featuring as a trialist.


Commenting on the professional contracts for the aforementioned youngsters, coach Travis Binnion is understandably delighted.


"The lads fully deserve their deals. They have taken different routes to get to this stage and they all have a lot of work to do to progress further to make an impact at first team level.


"They have all shown a lot of promise and are each good characters as well as players. They and all the staff at the Academy have worked hard to achieve this success.


"The first team staff have shown that there is a pathway at United and now it is down to the lads to take this opportunity."


* Pic: Gordon, Ramsdale, Hall, Kelly, Crofts and Smith


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