YOUNG-GUN Jack Hughes has signed a new five-year deal with Wigan.
The Challenge Cup holders have moved quickly to reward the 20-year-old for his strong performances this season.
Hughes, who was out of contract at the end of this campaign, has agreed improved terms for the rest of this year and is also tied to the club for 2013 and 2014.
Wigan also have an option to retain him for the following two years.
Coach Shaun Wane said: “Jack is a big, strong athlete with talent and skills and we are delighted that one of the most promising youngsters in the English game has pledged his long-term future to Wigan.”
The academy-product debuted for the first-team at second-row last season but switched to the centre during the off-season. And he took his chance in the senior side when George Carmont broke his thumb in the first game of the season.
Hughes, a former St Jude’s amateur, has figured in the past four matches and has impressed many with some strong displays on the left edge. He scored his debut try in Sunday’s 36-12 win against Catalan.
“I am over the moon to know that I am going to spend the next few years of my career at my hometown club,” he said. “I will continue to work as hard as I can and am looking forward to being a part of the club’s future success under Shaun and Iestyn (Harris, assistant coach).”
England Under-18s international Hughes was one of nine Wigan academy-products in the starting line-up last Sunday and while his place will come under threat when Carmont returns from injury next week, rugby manager Kris Radlinski is convinced he is destined for a bright future.
Radlinski said: “We have known for quite a while that Jack has had all the physical attributes but over the off-season he has matured incredibly.
“He looks like he belongs in first grade, never looking nervous or out of place. He has potential leadership qualities that we will tap into and his confidence will continue to grow.”
Hughes’ assured displays at centre have eased earlier concerns about a seeming lack of depth in that position.
Chairman Ian Lenagan added: “From being a concern, the centre position is looking strong again. Jack is a quality young player, locally born, who has an excellent attitude and is just the sort of player we want to build the team around in the seasons to come.”