Gibson signs new deal with Rhinos

England international Ashley Gibson, 20, has agreed a new three year contract with Leeds Rhinos which will keep the young star at Headingley Carnegie until at least the end of the 2009 engage Super League season.

Gibson made an impressive debut for the Rhinos back in 2005 when he scored 22 points including a hat trick against Leigh and he has gone on to make a further 12 appearances in the first team.

He was selected by Paul Cullen for last year's successful Federation Shield campaign, playing in three different positions in the tournament including starting at hooker in the Final against Tonga. He featured in every game and scored two tries in the win over Tonga at the Twickenham Stoop.

Commenting on his new deal the former Stanningley ARLFC player said, ''I am delighted to have agreed a long term deal with my home town club. I hope I can follow in the footsteps of Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire and Kevin Sinfield who have all come through the Academy system and gone on to play for Great Britain.

''I did not expect to play as much as I did last season and to get picked for England was a real bonus. I played in some different positions and I think I went ok. I have spoken with Gary Hetherington and Tony Smith and they are happy with how I am progressing and have rewarded me with this new deal.

''Having been in the first team and played for England, that has definitely whetted my appetite and I hope I can at least match that this season. I have definitely raised my expectations of myself and I am challenging myself to raise the bar again.

''I had no hesitation in signing the new deal and never wanted to go anywhere else. You can see with the amount of former academy players in the squad here that Leeds is a club that looks after it's young players and hopefully I can continue to develop and repay the faith the club has shown in me,'' added Gibson.

Head Coach Tony Smith added, ''Ashley is a very talented young player who has shown he can play at the highest level. I am looking forward to coaching him in the future and seeing him continue to work hard and develop as a player. We are proud that we are a club who give our young players the chance to reach their full potential and I am delighted Ashley has agreed this new contract.''

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