Teenage prospect Jack Ellis has spoken of the “unbelievable” experience of getting his big chance for Carlisle United.

The 18-year-old Cumbrian defender was given his first two senior outings by Paul Simpson in the final games of the season.

And Ellis underlined his potential with two impressive performances against Stevenage and Bradford City.

Ellis, from Staveley, also capped an impressive season by being named United youth team player of the season.

And, speaking at the club’s annual awards night, the teenager said getting his first-team chance was a dream come true.

News and Star: Ellis impressed against Stevenage and Bradford, pictured (photo: Richard Parkes)Ellis impressed against Stevenage and Bradford, pictured (photo: Richard Parkes)

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Being here since I was nine-ten years old, it’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do, make my debut for Carlisle.

“It was a real honour.”

Ellis caught the eye with a confident performance in the last game of the season at Bradford City.

The teenager looks set to be part of manager Paul Simpson’s thinking as he pieces a squad together for the 2022/23 campaign.

Ellis was awarded a professional deal recently and Simpson has challenged the home-grown prospect to make the most of his chance.

Asked if he was surprised by how well Ellis had taken to the first-team arena, Simpson – speaking about his performance in front of 18,283 fans at Valley Parade – said: “I’m always wary of saying it’s surprising because it sounds I’m being disrespectful and that I didn’t think he was a decent player.

News and Star: Ellis made his first-team debut against StevenageEllis made his first-team debut against Stevenage

“I knew he was a decent player because I wouldn’t have given him the chance if I didn’t think it.

“He’s trained really well with us, he’s been very calm and assured, when I’ve seen him – I’ve only seen him in a couple of games but he’s done well in those – so it’s probably wrong to say I’m surprised.

“But I am so pleased with the way he's gone. He’s been excellent in the two games.

“When you put a young player in to the team you wonder whether they’re going to be out of place, and he certainly wasn’t.

“He’s held his own in two games. What he has to do now is make sure he comes back in June, he learns from these two games, grabs that opportunity and goes and makes that position his own.”

United’s Under-18 manager Mark Birch said Ellis was the unanimous choice of academy coaches to be named youth player of the season.

Birch said it was “not just on football reasons – but the all-round person [he is], the way he conducts himself in and around the club, and for his education as well.”

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