Teenager Liam McCarron became the first of the current crop of academy second years to earn a professional deal this season when he put pen-to-paper on an 18-month contract which will see him stay with the club until at least the summer of 2020.
Preston-born McCarron, 18 in March, has since gone on to make 14 appearances for the Blues, most of which have seen him roared on by United’s fans as they’ve urged him to try to hit the back of the net almost every time he’s latched onto the ball.
Speaking after his latest outing, which saw him take to the field in the weekend home victory over Mansfield Town, he said: “I’m really enjoying things at the moment and I just want more of it.
“It’s all come as a bit of a shock really, but I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully I’ll be getting more appearances every week.”
Having committed his future to the club in September, he explained how the first team players had made the transition from the youth ranks to the senior dressing easier for the talented youngster to make.
“The senior players are looking after me and I’m taking a lot from them,” he told us. “They’ve been doing this for years so I want to learn from them as much as I can. I’m watching and listening all the time so that hopefully I can be in their place one day.
“To be honest, when I first started getting involved, I didn’t just want to be sitting on the bench. I wanted to be getting game time and minutes on the pitch so that I could prove myself. Obviously the next aim is to be starting.
“It’s good to be involved with the first team. There’s a huge difference in intensity. The atmosphere and everything is different in the lead up to the game. There’s a lot of pressure because you know you need to get the points every week.”
As for his search for that elusive goal, he commented: “It’s nice to have the crowd backing me and hopefully that goal will come one day. I know the fans want me to get it because they always cheer when I start running with the ball.
“I thought it would happen against Mansfield because I went for it when I got into the box at the end of the game. Unfortunately the keeper saved it but if the chance comes to shoot I’ll definitely try to get it on target.”
And looking back at the day he was offered his first professional deal, he said: “It was a great feeling to get that contract. I didn’t expect it to happen when it did, but it was superb to be offered the chance to play here at Brunton Park.
“I was taken totally by surprise because I was told that I had to be at a meeting, but I wasn’t too sure what it was going to be about. I went in there hoping the contract would get mentioned, so it was good when it turned out to be the case.
“My dad was with me at the time, so he got to see my reaction. He had the biggest smile on his face ever. I’d never seen anything like it, so it was good to see.
“There was a huge feeling of pride for all of my family, and for me, because all I’ve ever wanted is to play for the club. I still can’t believe it’s actually happening.
“The first team management staff and Darren [Edmondson] are making sure I’m keeping my feet on the ground. I’m still one of the youth lads so I’ll keep doing my jobs.
“My biggest hope is that some of the other lads will get contracts as well.”
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