WILL LEATT expressed his pride at seeing York City Knights youngsters Myles Harrison and Toby Warren make their Betfred Championship debuts, stating that "they've worked harder than anyone else at the club" this year.

Harrison and Warren, along with fellow teenager AJ Towse, were spotted by Knights Foundation community coach Leatt, who leads the Excel player development programme and also works in the first-team backroom staff.

Having impressed in the Excel set-up, the trio signed long-term professional deals with James Ford's side and have been put under a gruelling training schedule to prepare them for the demands of first-grade rugby league.

And Harrison and Warren saw the fruits of their labour as the pair played starring roles in last week's 29-16 win at Newcastle Thunder.

“I was really proud of them both, as well as AJ Towse too, for the work that they’ve done since pre-season," said Leatt.

“They’ve probably worked hard than anyone else at the club in order to develop as quickly as possible and to get ready for a call-up when called upon.

“Given those extra fitness, gym and skills sessions they’ve been doing in training, it’s great to see them play and see them play really well.

“It was also good to see the other players being really enthusiastic about them being in the team.

“They did have a lot of confidence in them and were genuinely pleased that they had got the chance to play and that they’d taken it and played well.”

The former Heworth ALRFC juniors arrived at York as 16-year-olds and have been put through their paces behind the scenes, with some supporters calling for their inclusion amid a tough period of injuries for the Knights this year.

Leatt offered an insight into the dedication shown by the teenagers.

“They come in early and they’re in the gym for an hour," he said. "Then they’re out on the field doing speed and acceleration training.

“Then they will do skills extras with me, Fordy and Jack Howieson (assistant coach), working on things that they can improve upon.

“Then it's the video and team meeting, then the field session and then after that James (Metcalfe, strength and conditioning coach) gives them some more conditioning.

“So they’ve done an awful lot of work this year to get themselves ready,” Leatt chuckled.

“Their attitude has been first class. They’ve committed to that work rate as well, coming in early and leaving late."

Recalling his first impressions of the three prospects, Leatt revealed that Ford wanted to sign Warren at 15.

“We saw them in a game against Castleford in 2019 and Myles played really well and AJ was good in his effort, desire and competitiveness.

“Toby was a year younger and was 15 at the time. He handled himself well, tackled hard and aggressively and carried the ball well.

“I think that Fordy wanted to bring him in at that point but he was too young to join the squad," laughed Leatt, "so we had to wait until his 16th birthday to invite him down.”

Leatt and the Knights will be hoping to find the next generation off young talent through their Excel programme which resumes with blocks over the coming months, having been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Under-13s and U14s are coming back in together in October. Then we'll see the U12s before Christmas, from November to December.

"For our last block, we were limited to 30 participants, which was an RFL ruling given government guidelines with Covid.

"We were capped by that which was a shame because I think that we would have easily had double that with the interest that there was.

"I think that 30 participants cap has been removed so we've got full access now, which is really pleasing.

"Hopefully we can get good attendance at these next two blocks."