YOUNG Carlisle United defender Tom Wilson says earning his first professional deal with the club still seems like 'a bit of a blur'.

Wilson was one of a crop of under-18s who came through the system last season to earn their first pro deal at Brunton Park.

And he admitted to the Carlisle United website that it was a massive relief to him to finally secure his place at the club.

“It was all a bit surreal, to be honest,” he said. “I couldn’t really take it in when I first found out because it’s something you’ve wanted for so long.

“All of the work you do through the years is all about making it through, so it was a massive relief when I was told I was getting it.

“Leading up to the day we were told I honestly didn’t have much of an inkling at all about which way it was going to go.

"I’d played in reserve games and I’d trained a lot with the first team, and as second years we’d been kept in work over Christmas to train with them as well.

“It felt like that had gone well for me but all you can really do is keep your fingers crossed that it’ll go your way.”

Wilson, a Carlisle fan, had joined the academy as an under-13 player and got the news about his contract just before the March lockdown.

“It still feels like it was all a bit of a blur. It was nice to hear everybody say ‘well done’ and to get the comments about all of the hard work paying off," he admitted.

"It means a lot, particularly when it’s all you’ve been able to think about for quite a while.

"From there it’s a reminder that this is only the first part of the job done. The next focus has to be on what I need to do to push for a first team shirt.

"As much as that message gets repeated it is the most important one because if I switch off now, I’ll lose the opportunity I’ve been given.

“I think it will all only real sink in when we get back into training.

“All of us who have made it through will be in the first team dressing room every day, and that obviously brings a lot of responsibility with it. We can’t just turn up, we have to be at our best every day, because that’s the type of environment the manager has created.

“I think the fact that I played in the reserve games and trained with the first team last season will help with that. I learned a lot from those games because there was a lot of experienced players in the team, especially along the back four.

“You can’t help but pick up things from players like that, and the way they communicated all the time was a big thing I took from it. That definitely helped to progress my game with the youth team. The chance is there if you do the work, and there’s no better incentive than that."