Doncaster Rovers: Why the loan extension for Herbie Kane really is a statement of intent

Christmas came early for Doncaster Rovers when, last Friday, they received the confirmation that Herbie Kane would be remaining at the Keepmoat for the rest of the season.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 11:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 3:51 pm
Herbie Kane

Grant McCann's declaration that the loan extension was a statement of intent was more than mere hyberbole.

As anyone who has seen even the slightest glimpse of Kane in action so far this season would tell you, the boy is a bit special. And he is clearly going places.

It is that fact that had Rovers supporters so concerned about the contractual status of a 20-year-old Liverpool player.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Arriving with not even one minute of senior football under his belt, on his debut he showed exactly why McCann had been so keen to give him that experience.

Combative, strong and with a brilliant range of passing, Kane was pretty confident too as he showed when reprimanding captain Tommy Rowe for not making a run. On his senior debut he told off the the skipper who was rapidly approaching 30 and without any hint of arrogance. Let that sink in.

He quickly ensured his name was one of the first on the team sheet as he bossed midfield battles. The only thing missing from his game were goals.

Yet the very next game after making public his desire to add goalscoring to his repertoire, he netted twice, beginning a run of six goals in eight matches.

All this led to an understandable worry he would be heading elsewhere once his initial loan expired. Surely Championship clubs or high-flying League One rivals would be attempting to swoop in and pinch him from under Rovers' noses.

But repeated assurances that, if he was to be heading back out on loan in January it would be to Rovers, proved entirely rock solid.

Not that there were not a few nervy moments for McCann and co.

Kane's protracted contract negotiations looked to have reached an impasse which may well have forced McCann to plan for life without the prodigiously talented midfielder.

Rovers did not side idly by and wait for news from Merseyside however.

It is understood they sought to positively progress discussions between player and parent club in a manner unheard of from a potential loan destination. Extra financial outlay was mooted from the loaning club in a bid to help Kane reach an agreement over his long term future at Liverpool.

A statement of intent indeed.

There was quickly an acknowledgement at Rovers, from top to bottom, that Kane was a vital player, particularly if a promotion push was to shift from potential to actual.

So whatever options they had to ensure the conditions were right for a deal to be done, they did explore.

Rovers are a club that so often have the '˜lacking ambition' tag thrown at them, largely because cash is not overtly splashed. It is a tag that is increasingly unfair.

They showed real ambition to get the Kane deal done '“ and the desire to do show demonstrates a great deal of ambition on its own.

It is ambition reflected with the signing of highly rated and sought after Kieran Sadlier, whose potential has been bolstered with two years in the Republic of Ireland.

And it is ambition reflected by getting to the front of the queue for another exciting, touted young loanee, set to arrive from a Championship club at the start of next month.

January will not be a busy month of transfer activity for Rovers but there should be no negative tags placed upon them for that fact.

The first half of the season shows genuine potential within the squad for a promotion push '“ and that has been recognised in the boardroom. 

Provided there are no unforeseen departures, major additions to the squad are not needed beyond the ones that have already been lined up.

And that is particularly so after the celebration-worthy news over Kane's future.'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹'‹