Castleford Tigers are delighted that despite strong interest from other Super League clubs England youth captain Callum McClelland has agreed to join their under 19s academy.
The highly rated young player has graduated to the Tigers’ under 19s squad and follows the other scholarship graduates recently confirmed as staying on by Cas as well as two England youth internationals joining from other clubs,
McClelland has decided to sign professional terms with his hometown club, from which he has progressed through the scholarship system over the last two years.
A product of Lock Lane ARL, Callum has spent the last couple of months in Australia were he has gained valuable life and rugby experience as part of an exchange programme through his former school Castleford Academy.
After a short break he will resume training with the Tigers under 19s academy squad for the rest of the current season and he will get back to his studies, starting at Pontefract New College has part of the club’s partnership with the college.
Tigers head of youth Pete Riding is excited to see Callum develop further.
He said: “I am absolutely over the moon with this signing.
“During the last couple of years Callum has caught the attention of a number of other Super League clubs after impressing at school, community club, scholarship and England youth Level.
“This signing is a real shot in the arm for us and a real statement of intent in terms of the progress we are making as a club.
“It is safe to say that Callum had other tempting offers elsewhere, but he chose to commit his future to us which typifies just how much of a well rounded, grounded and focused young man he is.
“A high number of people, including the staff at Castleford Academy, coaches at Lock Lane and, of course, his family have contributed to his development, this along with his dedication and hard work has resulted in both the player and young man that Callum has become. I have no doubt that Callum will continue to work hard and remain focused in order to give himself the best chance possible of becoming the best he can be and progress further at the club.”
Callum said: “I’ve progressed so well over the last two years here and everyone around the club has helped me on and off the field.
“I’ve grown up as a Cas fan and it’s great to sign for my hometown club.
“I had offers form elsewhere but the culture here at Cas made me want to stay here. I’m looking forward to stepping up into the under 19s set up and I’ll be working hard and aiming to push may way towards my first team debut.”
After a terrific 46-4 win over Wakefield last week, the Tigers under 19s squad will next take on Widnes Vikings away on Friday, September 2 with a 7.30pm kick off.