Matt Doherty today put pen to paper on a new four year contract – and vowed there to be no let-up as he aims to cement a place in a Wolves’ promotion push this season.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, now one of Wolves’ longest serving players having joined from Bohemians back in 2010, was already potentially tied down until the summer of 2019.
But having impressed under Nuno Espírito Santo this season, he has been rewarded with a new contract, following in the footsteps of the four-year deal signed by Connor Coady last week.
It marks a good few days for the 25-year-old, who made his 150th league appearance in club colours in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Barnsley on Saturday.
“We have had an exciting start to the season,” he said.
“We started negotiations at the back end of last season but we weren’t playing that well so it was decided to leave it.
“There was then a change of Head Coach and you are never sure if you are going to be involved.
“He told me I was in his plans and started the season quite well.
“It shows great faith in me from him and the club to give me a new deal when I still had two years remaining.
“People might think a four year deal brings a bit of comfort but no chance!
“This is a really big season for us.
“We are joint top at the moment and it is an exciting time for the team in terms of potential and what we are capable of.
“We are looking to try and get promoted, and I want to play as many games as possible to help get to the Premier League.
“I am proud to have made as many appearances as I have for a club like Wolves.
“There has always been competition for places, especially this season, but to have played as many games as I have is great.
“Long may it continue!
“Hopefully I have survived here this long because I am decent at football!
“Maybe it is because I can play in a number of positions.
“I can’t put my finger on why I have managed to stay here and survive.”
Doherty, who has enjoyed loan spells with Bury and Hibernian, was first signed by Mick McCarthy having impressed in a pre-season friendly when, as a Bohemian reserve, he lined up against Matt Jarvis during Wolves’ tour of Ireland.
“My Dad talks about that game quite often,” he says with a smile.
“He tells me to keep my feet on the ground!
“It was by chance that I even played in the game, and I didn’t even play that well.
“My Dad thought I was rubbish!
"But I got the chance to come here on trial – it probably helped that I was young at the time.
“I did alright and fortunately got signed.
“I have worked hard since then – it hasn’t just happened – and I have done what I have had to do by going out on loan and played games elsewhere.
“Now I am in the first team and playing regularly and I am very happy here.”
What changes then over the last seven years, on and off the pitch?
“You mature as a person, you learn different things all the time,” he explains.
“Moving away from home, going to Scotland as I did on loan, living on my own at a time when I didn’t drive.
“I am still quite laid back and let people get on with how they approach the game.
“If I see something that might help someone I may try and help them but I am not going around like a magician improving people.
“Football-wise I still can’t defend!
“I enjoy going forward.
“With the new gaffer now, in terms of the shape I am learning what to do.
“It is a new shape and I have had to change how I play but I still love going forward.
“I think I have improved over the years.”
Personal circumstances have also changed for the affable defender, who recently became a father for the first time.
“With the birth of my child not so long ago it has been an exciting time for me,” he adds.
“I think it has changed my perspective a bit, and there is more to life than playing football!
“I love playing football, but at the same time I cant wait to get home and see my daughter as well.
“I get less sleep now, which is normal, but I wouldn’t change a thing,”
And now all footballing focus turns to the season ahead, and Wolves – who face a tough test at Sheffield United tomorrow (7.45pm) – building on their early season promise.
“I have said before the staff here are top class, one of the best overall that I have worked with,” says Doherty.
“Their attention to detail – we do everything for a reason – and I think that has shown with us being at the top of the table, even though we know it is only nine games in.
“We need to keep doing what we are doing.
“We haven’t played great in every game but have still managed to win.
“There is a different feel about the place this season I think.
“You can never expect to be up there at the top of the table but at the same time I don’t think we are surprised to be there.
“The players that have come in have settled in really quickly and we have got strength in depth.
“There is a lot of character in the squad as well as we have shown already.
“There is no big heads with the group that have come in, they are all down to earth which is why they have settled in so well.
“In terms of ambitions for me now, I have been in some provisional Ireland squads and would like to try and break in at some stage.
“On a Wolves front, Premier League football is the big aim.
“If we all continue to work hard and play to our potential I am pretty sure we will be in and around it at the top of the table.”