ENGLAND Knights prop Matty Lees has been rewarded for a fine 2018 with a new and improved three-year contract.

Catching the eye with an abrasive, strong-running, up and at em style, Lees made 19 in te red vee last year and was nominated for the Betfred Super League Young Player of the Year.

Just about getting the right balance of aggression into his style of play, Lees will only get even better with maturity - but he has already caught the eye of seasoned former packmen like Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Anderson, who took the Knights on tour in the autumn.

Lees said: “I’m really happy to have signed a new deal with such a great club.

“I’d like to thank the coaching staff for giving me the chance to make my debut in 2017 and play 19 times in 2018.

“I still feel I have a lot of learning to do but I do know that St Helens is the best environment to do that in.

“We have a great coaching team and players here and they will help me develop further.

“I’m really looking forward to kicking on in 2019 and having what we all hope will be a successful season.”

Lees, 20, played his amateur rugby at Rochdale Mayfield and joined up with the club at the age of 16.

His first team debut followed at Wakefield in 2017 and he broke into the first team squad last year.

Saints’ legend and England Knights’ assistant Paul Sculthorpe MBE described him as the ‘best player on and off the pitch’ in PNG.

“Matty is a great young player who showed that he is more than capable of performing at the highest level in Super League last season,” Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook added.

“He is an exciting talent who is professional and keen to improve and develop.

“I’m really excited about seeing him do that this season and beyond.”

The deal retains Matty as a Saint until the end of season 2021.

Lees propelled himself on to the international radar and was man of the match in England Knights’ test win in Papua New Guinea,

There he earned high praise from Knights coach, and former member of the treble-winning Saints team of 2006, Paul Anderson.

“He’s got a level of intimidation about him.

“He’s only 20 and he got man of the match in an England Knights international against a near-enough full strength Papua New Guinea team. He’s a champion player and I like what he brings.

“He’s still got some things to fix up, but this trip is going to do him a lot of good.”

Lees’ advancement has intensified the competition for pack spots in 2019.