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Salford City football Club

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Anton Smith (left) and Ben Rydel (right) at The Peninsula Stadium after signing their first professional contracts with the ClubWe are delighted to announce that Ben Rydel and Anton Smith have both signed their first professional contracts with the Club!

The Academy graduates have both put pen to paper on one-year deals that will see them move up to training and playing with the Development Squad.

Central midfielder Rydel has captained the Under-18s at times in the last couple of years, including in last season’s FA Youth Cup campaign.

Ben Rydel with a Salford shirt after signing his first professional contractThe 17-year-old is determined to continue his development as a played and a leader, and said:

“I’m delighted to sign my first contract, I think I’ve worked hard and I think over the last three years while I’ve been here I think I’ve put 100% into every session.

“I like being a leader and setting an example for my teammates, I always give 100% so setting an example for team mates to follow.

“I want to see if I can play every game and captain the Under-23s next season, and then maybe try and get myself in and around the First Team if I can. I expect it to be tough, it’s going to be a challenge but hopefully I can get through it.”

Attack-minded midfielder Smith has been a regular in the Under-18s, and registered two assists and a goal in last season’s FA Youth Cup run.

Anton Smith with a Salford shirt after signing his first professional contractThe 18-year-old is also keen to work towards being involved with the First Team if the opportunity presents itself.

“Obviously I’m buzzing, it’s a dream come true like every other kid wanting to become a footballer, but I’m one of the fortunate ones.

“I think I’ve developed a lot, I think when I first came to Salford I was more based on try to create things more, getting on the ball, bringing other players into play but since I’ve been here I’ve developed an attacking side of my game, the more one-two side of my game with quick feet.

“I think it’s definitely [aims this season] to get some, as many as I can, minutes in the First Team. There’s chances in the EFL Trophy when we play Under-21 teams, but I think it’s just definitely get some minutes in the First Team if I can, and obviously play as many games in the Development Squad as well.”

Congratulations to both players, and we look forward to seeing how you progress and hopefully reach the First Team!