Teenage defender signs new United contract...
Teenage defender Sam Byram has pledged his future to Leeds United by signing a new three-year contract.
The 18-year-old signed his first professional deal at the end of last season, but after a whirlwind summer that has seen him make his senior debut, the youngster was offered a new extended contract with the club.
"I'm delighted," said Sam, who made his senior debut against Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup first round tie before following that with his league debut last weekend.
"I didn't expect anything like this at all when we started back six or seven weeks ago."
Sam's first involvement with the senior side came as part of a young second half team in the opening pre-season friendly at Farsley. But he went on to feature in every senior friendly before stepping into the competitive action.
"I was in the squad for the Farsley game and I just wanted to do well and impress the manager," he said. "We went on the tour after that, but I didn't expect to be involved when we came back.
"I know some of the young lads took part in the tour last season, but didn't go out to Norway and play in the other games after they got back. I thought that would be the same with me this season.
"But it's been good. I played a part in a every game. The manager and the staff have been really encouraging, and they said they've liked my attitude."
Despite being a pre-season regular, Sam admits it was a surprise when he was told he would be starting the clash with Shrewsbury Town.
"Tom (Lees) got injured and I was told on the Friday I would be playing," he explained. "I was nervous all night and in the morning, but once I got in the tunnel I was alright.
"I thought Leesy would be back on Saturday for the Wolves game, but being told I was playing and knowing that the gaffer trusted me to play was a big boost.
"My aims are still the same as they were over the summer in that hopefully I can play as much as possible and be involved."
Sam is another player who has progressed from the Academy and his development is an example to other young players coming through the system at the club. As a first year scholar Sam played 'down' an age in the under-16s, yet two years on, he is in the first team.
"The Academy helped me develop as a player and a person," said Sam.
"At first I took it as a negative when I played in the under-16s, but I realised it was to help me develop and give me game time which was important."