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Benjamin Russell to fulfil a long-term ambition when he skates out for Manchester Phoenix 

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Manchester Phoenix logo Benjamin Russell will fulfil a long-term ambition when he skates out for Manchester Phoenix in the English Premier League next season.

The 21-year-old became Tony Hand’s latest recruit last week, when he agreed terms on a one-year deal with the 2014 EPL champions. He will join a side that many expect to be a front-runner once again next season, following the recruitment of three-time Elite League winner, Mark Thomas. The former Milton Keynes youngster is looking forward to sampling the atmosphere generated by the club’s now-famous ‘Faithful’.

Photo supplied by Manchester PhoenixHe said: “Manchester is a place I've always wanted to play. Joining a team that has such a history of silverware and trophies made the decision a no-brainer. The Phoenix have always been a team that works hard and are hard to play against, so I am really excited to be joining them. The fans up there have the place rocking every night, so I am excited about being on the right side of it this time.”

Manchester’s chances of silverware next season will, of course, rely a squad that can compete with an improved line-up of opponents.

Russell added: “After talking with a few of the guys, I know that Manchester is a great place to play, and with Tony as coach, I think we’ll be an exciting team to watch.I am expecting great things of the side next season. I’ve got no doubt that the team Tony is putting together will be serious contenders for trophies. We’ll be challenging at the top of the league."

That expectation is unlikely to faze the young defenceman, who began his junior career in Milton Keynes, before moving to Canada and the United States for three years.

"Playing in North America was a great learning experience for me,” he said.“It helped to shape what kind of player I am and drilled into me the importance of never getting out-worked. That is one thing I have always tried to stick by.”

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