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Introducing Kelland Watts and Lewis Cass

Written by Dan King

Academy graduates Kelland Watts and Lewis Cass have been included in Rafa Benítez's first team squad for United's final Premier League game of the season at Fulham (kick-off 3pm BST).

The pair - both 19 years old - have been an important part of Ben Dawson's under-23 side's successful campaign which has seen them reach the Premier League Cup final and the Premier League 2 second division play-off final.

Both signed their first professional contracts at St. James' Park last summer. Watts is a versatile performer who caught the eye with a hat-trick in last season's 5-0 FA Youth Cup victory at Brighton & Hove Albion but has played in central defence for most of the current campaign. He has been an ever-present for the under-23s this term.

He made his England under-19 debut last summer and notched another hat-trick, this time at second-string level, in February's Northumberland Senior Cup quarter-final victory against Blyth Spartans.

Speaking to nufc.co.uk in July, the former Ponteland High School pupil said: "I've supported the club since I was a little kid and I've always aspired to be a professional at this club. Now it's about impressing and showing what you've got."

Full-back Cass returned from a long-term ankle injury in February. He hails from North Shields and spoke to nufc.co.uk last summer about his ambition of following in the footsteps of fellow Academy product Paul Dummett.

"I'd love to be be able to do what he's doing now," the former John Spence Community High School pupil Cass said in July. Particularly sound defensively, the teenager often studies Dani Alves and Marcelo as he looks to further improve the attacking side of his game.

He was taken to his first game at St. James' Park by his dad, Mark, as Hatem Ben Arfa scored a sensational solo goal in a 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers in April 2012.

"Since a young age, I've always supported Newcastle and I'm just glad to sign for such a big club," he added. "It's something I've been working towards for several years now and a big thanks to my mam, dad and whole family, and the coaches as well. It's been a hard road but I'm glad to be here.

"Hopefully I can impress the coaches and make a name for myself."


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