Doncaster Rovers: Wellens on exit talk but warns fans ‘don’t call me wantaway’

Richie Wellens

Richie Wellens

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Richie Wellens insists he has only ever asked to leave Doncaster Rovers once – and that was a month ago.

The veteran midfielder came in for plenty of criticism when he asked to speak to another club before the closing of the summer transfer window, hoping to move closer to his home in the north west.

But he says those who have labelled him wantaway are very much mistaken.

“Someone said to me it was the third time I’ve asked to leave,” Wellens said. “I’ve never asked to leave this club apart from that time.

“I asked to speak to a club that is local. I’m 35 with three kids and I spend four hours travelling every day.

“The first time I left the club was when Leicester wanted to sign me for £1.5million and the club accepted. I didn’t ask to go.

“The second time, I was out of contract on January 1. QPR wanted to sign me and in that position I’d have been stupid not to speak to them.

“I spoke to them and while I was speaking, Doncaster offered me a new contract.

“Then at the end of the season I had a clause in my contract where my wages went down 80 per cent from the Championship but I could also speak to other clubs.

“Not once I have said I wanted to leave so I was a bit disappointed the fans felt that way.

“In terms of moving forward, I’m fully committed.”

In reference to speaking to another club – believed to be Wigan – last month, Wellens says his long commute each day has begun to take a toll on his body.

And he offered a piece of advice to fellow professionals. “I would say to every player at every single football club that you should live within 20 miles of your club. You shouldn’t have to be travelling.

“It’s difficult for me because my kids are over there.

“When I go out to train or play, I want to be the best that I can be physically and mentally.

“Driving doesn’t help and I shouldn’t be doing it.

“That’s why I spoke to the other club when the interest came and it was out of the blue really.”