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Sam signs first pro deal

Promising young defender puts pen-to-paper on contract until June 2021

15 February 2019

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Rovers youngster Sam Barnes has signed his first professional contract with the club.

The 17-year-old defender, who has been with the club's Academy since the age of 11, has put pen-to-paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal through to June 2021.

The second year scholar, who captained Rovers' Under-18s in this season's FA Youth Cup, is currently on a period of work experience at Marine FC, which has been extended until March 12th.

Barnes, who was born in Blackburn, admits it is a dream come true to sign his first pro deal with his boyhood club.

"I'm absolutely delighted to sign at such a big club like Blackburn Rovers," said the ball-playing centre back.

"Growing up in Blackburn, this is what I've dreamed of since I was a young lad.

"I've been a season ticket holder since the age of three, so I've watched Rovers play in the Premier League and in League One, but we seem to be back on the up now.

"A lot of hard work and sacrifices have gone into this, not only from me but from my family as well, but it's definitely worth it for days like today - it's a massive achievement."

Barnes has spent the past month at Evo-Stik Premier Division side Marine FC, gaining valuable experience of first team football.

The talented teenager, who has made four appearances, scored the winner on his full league debut in a 2-1 victory over Hyde United and will remain at Rossett Park for a further month.

"The experience at Marine has been absolutely massive for me," he added.

"It's a different type of football, a lot more physical and a quicker pace, but I feel like it's been a big part of my development and it's been great to be in and around the matchday atmosphere there.

"The lads and the manager have really made me feel comfortable there and when I'm comfortable playing my football I'm confident and it brings out the best in my performances, so hopefully that can continue."

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