STEVE Rhodes says keeping hold of Worcestershire’s crop of exciting, young players is just as important as producing them via the club’s flourishing academy system.

George Rhodes became the eighth Worcestershire player this summer to sign a new contract when he put pen to paper until the end of the 2019 campaign.

He has followed Brett D’Oliveira, Ed Barnard, Josh Tongue, Tom Fell, George Scrimshaw, Ollie Westbury and Alex Milton in recently signing new contracts.

Last summer opener Daryl Mitchell and wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Cox committed to new four-year contracts.

When asked about the eight signings director of cricket Rhodes said: “That is part of our plan which is to produce good players, keep hold of them and then if we can add in one or two to make the icing on the cake.

“It is never easy producing them but it is also not easy hanging onto them.

“That is still a focus with some of our other players going into the back-end of the current season.”