Manager Keith Hill has told www.rochdaleafc.co.uk that Ollie Rathbone “deserves” his contract extension and has also praised the midfielder’s attitude, application and enthusiasm.
Rathbone, who is now contracted to the club until the summer of 2019, impressed during his first full season in professional football last term after joining from Manchester United, but Hill believes there’s still more to come from him.
Hill commented: “He deserves it.
“He’s still relatively young and I’m encouraged by his attitude, application, enthusiasm and his energy.
“When we recruited him, he could have stayed at Manchester United for another year. He was on relatively good money in comparison to what we were prepared to pay him, but he took the sacrifice to be given the opportunity.
“He’s taken that opportunity and I, and the club, believe that we should reward him, and that’s what we’re doing. We look after our players, especially when they do the business. And I believe there’s still more to come from Ollie. After a good start to his footballing career last season, I’m encouraged that’s still more improvement in him and that he’ll be better this season and the season after that.
“That’s why we want to protect our own interests and reward Ollie as well.
“It’s a good decision from Ollie, his representatives and his Dad – his Dad has a big influence on his career, and rightly so. I know his Dad really well and he’s an amazing character. We’re happy and we’re happy to help improve him and help us improve our fortunes on the pitch.”
Hill continued: “We have to be able to keep up with the footballing world. I don’t want us to be where we’re supposed to be, which is 29 places below where we’re finishing.
“We’re trying to do everything that we possibly can as a football club to make sure that we don’t end up in League Two and these are the small steps that we are trying to take. It’s about securing our League One future and trying to build to potentially to get into the Championship. It’s really difficult, but these players are ambitious.
“They are ambitious for themselves, which is what you expect, and they back me in the way that I want to play, and hopefully that’ll bring success for Rochdale Football Club.”