Danny Batth has revealed part of the lengthy negotiations surrounding his new contract were linked to the desire to cement his place in the Wolves team – as he vows to leave no stone unturned in his quest to improve.
The defender signed a new three-and-a-half year contract this week to widespread acclaim from Wolves supporters who certainly view him as one of their own having been born in Brierley Hill and first joined the Academy as an 11-year-old.
Talks over a deal had been taking place since the start of the season, with the 23-year-old keen to discover his role in Wolves’ future.
Having been a virtual ever-present during a promotion-winning loan spell from League One with Sheffield Wednesday two years ago, Batth found first team opportunities limited when back at Molineux last season.
But he has been made a cornerstone of Kenny Jackett’s revamped Wolves – he remains the only league ever-present amid the postponement of today’s trip to Crawley – and was thus only too delighted to commit his future.
“This gives me the chance to kick on and it gives me a base at the club,” he said.
“It also gives me the chance to cement a place in the team to drive us forward.
“It’s my home club and I’ve been here a long time – I know the staff, I know the gaffer as well and it gives a real opportunity for the group to come together as a group and kick on.
“It’s quite rare these days to find a player staying in one place but I’ve come through the academy here at Wolves and I think that’s something to be proud of and something I hold in high regard.
“It’s taken a while for me to get into the team and to really get a good shot at it but I’ll carry on taking it one game at a time and giving it my best and hopefully that stands me in good stead.
“I’ve been sat in the stands in the past and thought I’d love the chance to play and when that chance comes, each time I try to take it in my stride and enjoy myself.
“Fans like to see local players and they want to see lads come through the academy.
“To be in that bracket is something I’m proud of.
“The contract has been a long time coming.
“At the back end of last season I didn’t get as much football as I’d have wanted and this season I think maybe people expected it to happen overnight, but I don’t think these things ever come to such quick conclusions.
“There was no rush because I’d been here for a long time and I always saw my future here.
“I think it was a case of both parties being happy with the deal.
“Most deals take ages – I think my agent managed to negotiate a bus pass maybe!
“The playing front was a considerations – establishing myself in the team is important to me, and there was a feeling from me not to jump in two-footed and just sign a contract straightaway.
“I needed to know what part I was going to play in their plans, definitely.”
Batth has vowed to continue to improve, and to one day emulate two much- celebrated Wolves centre backs of recent times in Jody Craddock and Joleon Lescott.
“I watched Joleon when he was here and I used to think ‘that could be me one day’,” he says.
“I used to watch all the games when I was a kid coming through the academy.
“I used to look at Jody Craddock as well – he had a good career and it’s players like that I aspire to be.
“For Joleon or anyone who’s played the game to say good things about me is a nice compliment.
“But it’s not one I will take too literally because I don’t want to take my foot off the gas.
“In fact it will make me work harder and give me chance to get there.
“In terms of the work I put in, it’s a case of what don’t I do?
“I train until I can’t train any more – I’ll be the last one out training and do a lot of extras hours, I study sports science, I don’t drink and I see different people away from the club as well to help me in different aspects of the game.
“I just want to improve generally and try and pick anything up really, I try not to leave any stone unturned.
“I’m still young and there’s plenty of room for improvement.”
In Samuel Ricketts Wolves do possess an experienced and well-respected captain who has done an excellent job since taking the reins.
Batth has stepped in this season on the rare occasions when Ricketts has been absent – could he one day be a long-term successor with the armband?
“Captaining the team is something I’m proud of and it’s something I feel I can do,” he replies.
“I find myself naturally drawn to the leadership side of things.
“I think I find making a noise keeps me switched on and I like to pass on as much information as I can, which can only help my team-mates really.
“It always has been an ambition of mine to captain Wolves.
“I’ve been captain of all the sides here right the way through so the next step for me would be to learn from Sam and see what I need to do to improve my chances of becoming the next captain here.”