Hull FC Centre of Excellence Development Squad rising star Davy Litten has been rewarded with his first professional contract, after excelling on and off the field.
The lively utility-back who can play at both half-back and full-back is captain of the club’s Development Squad, which was crowned College Premier Division champions this season, winning 10 of 11 matches before the season was cancelled due to Covid-19.
The 17-year-old has also been named the Development Squad Player of the Year, having been recognised by his peers for his performances and leadership qualities, and he has been rewarded with the opportunity to progress to the club’s Academy squad.
Having played in three matches and continuing to catch the eye, Litten has been handed his first professional contract, highlighting the strength of the club’s new-look Centre of Excellence pathway, which provides full-time rugby and education provision for all aspiring young rugby league players.
Working in partnership with the likes of Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ Bishop Burton College and SCL Education, who also support clubs like Leeds United, Crystal Palace, Leicester Tigers and Bristol Bears, the Hull FC Centre of Excellence provides a high-quality and bespoke education offer.
Litten, the cousin of former Hull FC hooker Jez, has also represented Hull Wyke, Myton Warriors and Cottingham Tigers, before enrolling at the club’s Centre of Excellence last year, combining his studies with his dream of earning a professional rugby league contract.
Speaking to hullfc.com, Litten said: “I’m delighted to be signing for my boyhood club. I’ve loved Rugby League all my life and have been a Black & White supporter my entire life so it’s a great opportunity to be signing a contract with the Academy.
“With Jez (Litten) being my cousin, I really aspire to follow in his footsteps. It gives me great confidence that he came through the Hull FC Academy and is now playing regularly in Super League – I’d love to be able to follow that path and emulate what he has done in the game at such a young age.
“I’ve got to pay great credit to all the coaches at the Centre of Excellence, as they’ve really helped me progress over the last 18 months – I genuinely feel that under their leadership I’ve gone from being a boy to a man.
“The opportunity to play rugby in a competitive environment alongside continuing my studies in the Centre of Excellence is a great experience, and I can’t recommend it enough.”
He continued, “Not everyone gets spotted at a young age and there is only a limited number of opportunities for academy players. What Hull are doing gives everyone that chance and gives them some hope they can achieve their dreams of being a rugby player.
“The coaches and tutors understand us as rugby players, but they know our education is just as important as our rugby training. I have loved my time with the group and its perfect for people like me to continue my education but not give up on rugby league.
“The Academy is the next step up for me and they’re some of the toughest games I’ve played in. But having seen players like Jordan Lane, Connor Wynne and Jack Brown come through the system, that really gives me the motivation to try and follow in their path.”
Hull FC Academy head coach Danny Wilson, said: “Davy is a great young player who has shown the benefits of commitment and hard work. He is an exciting young half-back with bags of potential.
“Davy is a shining example of why the Hull FC Centre of Excellence was needed and we are now starting to see the benefits of it coming through.
“It will provide players with an opportunity to excel and progress, even if they have not already been identified as part of an elite pathway.
“For some players it can happen at different times and this model allows us to give as many young rugby league players as possible the chance to fulfil their dreams or promise.”
He added, “The players are not only seeing the benefit on the field, but the approach to our education provision is also paying dividends with a significant improvement in their academic attainment as well.
“It is a full-time programme that we hope will develop them as young men, rather than just students or rugby league players, and Davy is a shining example of that at work.
“It is now another step up in terms of progression for him but we are excited to see how he grasps that next big step in his playing career and we are looking forward to seeing who will be in the next crop to progress.”
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(Images: Jack Mankel Photography)