KALLUM Watkins will go from ball boy to player after sealing a move to Salford.
The former England international also had interest from Hull KR and several rugby union clubs.
But the lure of pulling on a Red Devils shirt proved too strong as he has signed a three-year deal.
Watkins was once a ballboy at the Red Devils’ former home The Willows, where he was also a junior season ticket holder. He also started playing rugby league at local clubs Langworthy Reds and Folly Lane.
Now at the age of 29, having own every honour in the British game and having played in the NRL, he is coming ‘home.’
Watkins, who grew up in nearby Stretford, said: “Representing Salford will be an honour for me.
“I know it’s been a long time coming in a sense, but I grew up wanting to play rugby league and Salford was key to my development.
“The club means a great deal to me. If I hadn’t had those opportunities to support the club and be a ball boy growing up, you don’t know what would have happened."
Watkins had signed a deal of a similar length with Toronto Wolfpack after returning home from Gold Coast Titans when father Garry contracted Covid-19.
But after the Canadian side withdrew from Super League for 2020, he was allowed to look for a move.
And Salford won the battle, with Watkins hoping to make his debut in the Challenge Cup quarter final against Catalans Dragons.
After attending his new home for testing, he added: “I might not be in the position I am, without having those
"My family are really excited and really proud. We’ve talked about how good it would be to play for Salford, but also wanting to achieve something big with the club.”
Getting Watkins is a huge thrill for Salford boss Ian Watson, who said: "We are extremely lucky to have been in a position to acquire a player of Kallum’s quality and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work with him.
“Building a team through players who are competitive and work hard has been really successful for us, but to get a player with both of those traits and world class ability is how we will grow into a team that challenges every year.
“Kallum has that and he recognises our progress as a team and a club, in recruiting other players with these three traits over the last few years.
“Being a local lad, Kallum will be embraced by the Salford supporters and I’m sure over the next few years he will prove to be one of the club’s best signings and it will show a real intent, not only for the remainder of this year, but in 2021, where we should have a phenomenal back line.”
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