Widnes Vikings have announced that talented youngster Matt Whitley has been handed a new deal, which sees him commit to the Vikings until the end of the 2018 season.
Whitley made his debut for the Vikings over the Easter period, and has retained his place in the side since with a string of impressive showings.
Vikings coach Denis Betts believes Whitley has a talented future in the game, and the decision to reward him with a new deal is testimony to how hard he has worked.
Betts said: “The fact that we have given Matt Whitley a new contract at this time is real testament to Matt Whitley. He came into our squad as an unknown teenager. He was willing to back himself and go full time on an academy contract. He worked really hard on his studies to make sure he stayed ahead academically so that he could train full time with the first team.
“Spending time in the full time environment has benefitted Matt immensely. His strength and understanding of the game have developed significantly.
“We have given him a three-year contract because we believe in Matt Whitley. He is one of the key youth signings alongside Jack Owens, Tom Gilmore, Alex Gerrard, Danny Craven – lads that have come through our system and have been really really good and have worked very hard and deserve the reward.”
Whitley himself said: “It has been an unreal experience playing for the first team. To get my debut alone was a massive achievement for me but then to play three games on the run has exceeded my own expectations.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have signed a new three-year deal with Widnes Vikings. I’m really excited about the prospect of securing a regular first team place and working hard in a Vikings shirt. I have learnt so much playing my way up through the academy. Now I’ve got my first full time contract I will continue to work hard, to keep improving my game, learning from training and match experience to be the most professional Widnes Vikings player I can be.”