ALEX Milton admits it is “a dream come true” after signing his first professional contract with Worcestershire.

The wicketkeeper-batsman will be on a university scholarship which the County are to help finance next summer as he completes his studies at Cardiff MCCU.

But the 21-year-old will then join up with the staff at New Road full-time for the 2019 campaign.

He is another product of the County’s flourishing academy to be stepping into the professional set-up at New Road.

Milton has enjoyed a memorable season with the bat at university, club and second-team level with Worcestershire.

He scored two hundreds for Cardiff MCCU against Loughborough and Bradford-Leeds before helping Cardiff CC to a league and cup double, scoring 1,000-plus runs in the process with five centuries.

Milton has made several important contributions for the county’s seconds including 91 against a strong Yorkshire attack at Royal Grammar School Worcester.

The Surrey-born former Malvern College student was rewarded with a first call-up into the first-team squad for last week’s County Championship win over Gloucestershire at New Road.

Director of cricket Steve Rhodes believes Milton can push for a first-team spot purely as a batsman.

He said: “Alex is at university next year when we look after him on a university scholarship but he has signed a contract as well for 2019.

“He has done really well and we are pleased with his form in league cricket and when he has played for our seconds.

“Alex is another academy player gaining a contract which is pleasing. The thing about Alex is in many ways he has done it the hard way in gaining a contract.

“He’s had the likes of Coxy (Ben Cox) and Clarkey (Joe Clarke) as keepers in his way.

“What he has done is prove his worth as a batter now and that’s what has really impressed the most — his run-scoring ability.

“He is certainly capable of pushing some of those first-team players for a spot as a batter as well.

“Alex and Alex Hepburn both have had good second-team years and are keeping the first-team lads on their toes.”

Milton said: “It hasn’t really sunk in at the moment. I’ve been working quite a while to get to this stage and it’s a bit of a dream come true for me.

“When Bumpy said to me they were looking to offer me something you couldn’t really take the smile off my face for a little while.”

Milton worked under the late academy director Damian D’Oliveira and then had a year with the MCC Young Cricketers before linking up again with Worcestershire.

He said: “At Worcestershire Damian helped me a lot in my younger years and I’ve got to thank Bumpy for giving me this opportunity. Hopefully I can repay the faith.

“Kevin Sharp (second XI and batting coach) is someone who has been a great help, especially with my batting.

“It’s been a good season personally. It’s just been one of those years where it has gone right quite a lot of the time whether that has been with uni, Cardiff CC or for the seconds.

“It has just felt everything has been going well and this first professional contract means a lot.”