Blyth Spartans defender is South Shields' latest summer signing

Dillon Morse has expressed his excitement after joining South Shields from Blyth Spartans.
Dillon Morse has expressed his excitement after joining South Shields from Blyth Spartans.

Highly-rated defender Dillon Morse has become South Shields' latest summer signing after agreeing a move from Blyth Spartans.

The 21-year-old, formerly of Gateshead and Carlisle United, was left enthused after his first meeting with the Mariners' hierarchy, which he says made the move near-impossible to turn down.

Morse follows in the footsteps of Matthew Wade, who joined Shields from Blyth last month, as did assistant manager Lee Picton.

The ambition of the Northern League Division One outfit impressed Morse after he opened talks, and convinced him to leave Blyth, for whom he made 41 appearances last season as they finished second in the Evo-Stik Premier Division on 99 points.

The centre-back may be just 21, but has plenty of experience already, having also had a spell in the Northern League with Newcastle Benfield as a teenager.

Morse is now raring to go after becoming Shields' sixth summer signing following their promotion campaign last time out.

He said: "It's a big opportunity, and one I couldn't turn down.

"After speaking to the chairman and hearing about the project, I didn't want to miss out on the chance of joining.

"It's there for everyone to see what the chairman has invested in the club, and for me, this is a perfect time to join.

"The project is huge, and it would have been stupid for me to turn it down. I'm really happy, and just can't wait to get started now."

Picton's presence, in particular, appears to have played a big part in Morse's decision to make the switch.

He added: "We had a good season at Blyth, and I really appreciated my time there.

"I'm sad to leave, but this was too big an opportunity to turn down.

"The ambition is massive, and I think I can really take the next step in my career with South Shields.

"Lee Picton was very good to work with at Blyth, and was a big part of me joining Shields.

"The way he approaches matchdays and gets the team set up, and his coaching sessions are really good. It's exciting stuff for South Shields.

"I like to play from the back and get on the ball. It suits me down to the ground the way Lee's style is, so that was another big factor of me coming here."

As a youngster, Morse started in Hartlepool United's Centre of Excellence, before moving on to Carlisle at the age of 16.

After a two-year scholarship there, he began studying at Gateshead College, at the same time playing in the Northern League with Newcastle Benfield.

His talent quickly caught the eye of scouts, and he was snapped up by Gateshead later that season on a professional deal.

Last season was another important one for the defender's development as he played regularly for Blyth Spartans, scoring twice in 41 appearances in all competitions, and being named as the club's Player of the Month for August.