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BATESON RELISHING PRO CHANCE

14 May 2014

United's latest academy graduate Curtis Bateson will be living the dream from July after he signed his first professional contract.

The 18-year-old striker will join up with the remainder of the first team later in the summer when they return for first team duties following the end of season break.

Bateson, who spent the closing stages of last season at Gainsborough Trinity so he could get some first team experience, said when he was offered a professional contract it came as quite a shock.

He told Scunthorpe-United.co.uk: "I was not expecting to be given a first team contract at all.

"However, it has come as a nice surprise to me.

"I got a call to come into the club and meet Russ and he was there alongside Tony Daws, Andy Dawson and Paul Musselwhite and that is when they told me that I was being offered a professional deal for next season."

The Scunthorpe-born striker says it is a great achievement to have come through the club's system and it's even better now that he has been given his opportunity with the first team.

He said: "I've been here at the club now for a while and I have played all the way through from the under 12s, the Centre of Excellence and the Apprenticeship and now I have been given my chance to shine with the first team.

"I am delighted that I have been able to sign for my hometown club as it is something that I have been working towards for a number of years.

"When I was little I always wanted to be a professional football player and now I have the chance to live the dream."

Bateson, who scored on his debut for Gainsbrough, took time to thank the staff at United's academy for all their hard work in helping develop during his time in the centre of excellence.

He said: "Tony and Paul have both been very good to me over the years and I can't thank them enough.

"I've had other coaches as well like Andy Sharp as well who has also helped me develop."

"It worked out really well that I was able to go out there and play some first team football at a really young age," Bateson continued.

"I have gained experience a lot earlier in my career that what a number of other professionals have done."

The Iron's newest recruit enjoyed his time at Steve Housham's Trinity side and he felt it gave him an added advantage for making the step up to the first team.

Bateson played several games for the Skrill Northern Premier side where he scored one goal.

He explained: "It was a good chance for me to make the step up to mens football and I think I have benefited from that a lot.

"With Callum Howe and Jamie Wootton also playing at Gainsborough last season I was able to get a lot of advice from them and they have been good to me.

Bateson added: "They told me what I need to do to make sure I give the right impressions to managers and coaches."

The teenager, who lives in Ashby, believes it is a very exciting time to be part of the Scunthorpe United team.

He is just one of a number of players, over the past few years, that has gone on to earn a professional contract having come through the academy.

Now, with the likes of Hakeeb Adelakun featuring regularly and Noel Burdett getting a place on the substitutes bench against York, Curtis is hopeful he can prove himself to the United coaching team ahead of the season's opener in August.

He said: "I've played with plenty of players during my time at the club who have been here and then got released but for me to have been here all the way through means a lot to me.

"It is a very exciting time for young people at Scunthorpe United at the moment.

"There are a lot of players breaking through into the first team and it is great to see them getting their opportunities. All you have to do is look at Hakeeb."

Bateson continued: "There is also Noel Burdett who was on the bench for the final home game of last season.

"It just goes to show that if you impress in the reserve matches then you will get an opportunity."

The United forward added: "I'm looking forward to starting training for next season. I shall be in the gym throughout the summer making sure that I'm in a decent shape ahead of next season."

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