Long road to Preston first team worth it for Ben Davies after penning new deal

Ben Davies says the long road to the Preston first team has been worth the '˜slog' after he put pen to paper on a second new contract in the space of nine months.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 6:00 am
Preston North End's Ben Davies

The centre-back last night signed a three-and-a-year deal, it replacing the contract he had agreed last July.

It means Davies is under contract until the summer of 2021, North End’s policy being to get their young promising players tied to long deals.

Barrow-born Davies has been on the Preston books since he was 11 and made his debut at the age of 17.

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But that since that brief bow at senior level, he had five loan spells as he went in search of first-team football.

Davies played 105 games when out on loan at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport, Newport and Fleetwood.

That experience has been invaluable this season with him establishing himself as a first-team regular at PNE.

Davies said: “I have been here a while now and I know the club inside out.

“It has been a bit of a slog getting through all the years and all the loans, but now I am really happy to be here and to be staying.

“Every loan I have seen as a stepping stone and now I’m looking to build more and keep progressing.

“It is never an easy road in football, most players have changed route and changed club.

“I’m delighted I have stuck at it and I’m happy here.”

North End boss Alex Neil liked what he saw of Davies in pre-season and also when he scouted him for Norwich last season at Fleetwood.

Neil handed him his chance in August and Davies has started 29 games at the heart of the defence.

His partnership with Paul Huntington at the back has impressed Neil.

Said Neil: “While Hunts is really dominant in the air, Ben with his pace and ability to cover is the best foil for him.

“Ben covers well and steps out with the ball impressively.

“Like the other lads here, he is keen to develop and learn.”

A number of players have signed new contracts since the start of pre-season.

Tom Barkhuizen, Alan Browne, Josh Earl, Callum Robinson, Ben Pearson and now Davies have signed on the dotted line.

With regards Davies’ new deal, Neil said: “It’s a reward for all of the effort and the quality that Ben has shown this year.

“He’s broken in to the team and has been a key performer for us.

“It’s a reward for him and this is also us looking forward and planning for the future and Ben wants to be a part of that which is great news.”

Davies and his team-mates return to action next Friday at Sheffield Wednesday.