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YOUNGSTERS NET PRO DEALS

Luke Rowe
Luke Rowe

It was a case of 'Luke who's talking two' as starlets Luke Hubbins and Luke Rowe described their delight at signing professional contracts with Birmingham City.

The Academy products were at St. Andrew's to put pen to paper on their first pro deals, both one-year contracts, and afterwards told bcfc.com how proud they felt.

Hubbins is an 18-year-old right winger from Weoley Castle in Birmingham and left-back Rowe is the same age and hails from Coventry.

Both have featured regularly for Blues' Under-18s in recent times with Hubbins scoring the winning goal in an FA Youth Cup quarter-final the season before last and Rowe shortlisted for the club's Young Player of the Year award in 2010. The pair have also featured for the reserves.

Hubbins, who as a wideman with pace and the skills needed to beat a man is a really bright prospect, said: "It's a proud day for me and one I've been working towards since I joined the Academy seven years ago.

"My aim now is to keep concentrating on my football and keep working hard. It's about pushing on to the next level - to always strive to be a better player."

Rowe, a defender who is good on the ball and able to spot a pass twinned with possessing a great character, added: "I've been here since I was 13 and today proves that hard work really can pay off. But now I know I've got to push on and keep working hard to see how far I can go.

"I'm proud to have signed a professional contract - it's everything I've ever dreamed of. But I'm also proud to have been part of a really talented age group."

Luke Hubbins
Luke Hubbins

Academy Manager Terry Westley is proud to see more 'graduates' emerge from the youth set-up.

Over the last year or so no less than Jordon Mutch, Jake Jervis, Mitch McPike, Ashley Sammons and Jack Butland have all also signed professional deals.

Many of these players are also making great strides on the international scene - something else the club can be extremely proud of, as Westley explained to the official club website.

He said: "If I look at last year's group, Mutch, Jervis, McPike and Sammons all got professional contracts before the end of the season - all on their 17th birthday or just past that because of how well they did. That's a big number.

"Three of them have played for England U-18s. Jervis has been on standby for the U-19 squad, along with Jordon. In terms of giving out professional contracts in one age group we've done very well.

"On the back of that you've got goalkeeper Butland and now Hubbins and Rowe, who have seen their two year scholarships completely up and at the end of the season and have been rewarded by getting an extension of their contract to get a one year professional deal.

"The challenge for them all now is to make their mark in the professional game. They're heading in the right direction but now they need to use the incentive of training with the first team to establish themselves from a reserve team perspective and try to leave the youth part of their careers behind them."

Meanwhile, 18-year-old right-back Jamie Dunphy has also penned a six month professional contract with Blues.

Dunphy, who hails from Wolverhampton, has had injuries in recent times but the deal offers him a chance to put those behind him and prove what he's capable of.

He said: "I've been playing football since I was six and been at Blues for the last five years so I'm really proud to have signed the contract. It's a big opportunity for me."

Academy boss Westley added: "Jamie has rightly been given a six month extension. He's a tough boy with a great attitude and this is a really positive opportunity for him."

Jamie Dunphy
Jamie Dunphy

 

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