'I believe he’s probably the best defender in League One' - Andy Butler talks the development of Doncaster Rovers' first choice centre backs

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Andy Butler has declared Tom Anderson the best defender in League One after praising his fellow Doncaster Rovers centre half for his improvement over the last year.

Butler played alongside Anderson at Rovers before his own year away from the club.

But after returning to Rovers last month, the veteran says he has been highly impressed by the way both Anderson and Joe Wright have developed during his absence.

“They’ve improved so much,” he told the Free Press.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Tom AndersonTom Anderson
Tom Anderson

“I remember back to when Tom first came in and we had Andy Boyle in at the time too. I had a conversation with Darren Ferguson and he asked me which one I thought we should keep and I said Tom straight away.

“You could see his desire, his willingness to work.

“Last year and this year, I believe he’s probably the best defender in League One.

“Joe Wright, he’s younger than Tom and he’s still got a lot to prove.

“The way he’s matured. In the beginning he liked to fight people during games and I think he’s learned to control that and use it to his advantage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“He will go in for the challenge when needs be but he’s learned different parts of his game. If he can’t challenge a player one on one in a strength duel he’ll back off and use his pace.”

Butler says he has been particularly impressed by the manner in which both Wright and Anderson have improved in possession as Rovers continue to develop their style of playing out from the back.

And he pointed to Anderson’s comfort at playing on his ‘unnatural’ side in the centre half pairing.

But he has warned both men, plus Cameron John, that he will be ready to snatch their spots should their performances dip.

“They’ve both come on so much using the ball,” he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Especially Tom using his left foot. I think it’s incredible the way he’s adapted to playing on the left side. You wouldn’t actually say his left foot is his weaker foot any more.

“They both complement each other. They’re both strong, both tall, both good in the air and composed.

“And then you’ve got Cameron John as well who is an all round athlete. If he gets a chance in there he’ll do the same because he’s so composed and he can play in multiple positions.

“I’ve got to be on my toes to get in there.

“But it’s good to see at the same time. I’ll push them as much as I can and if they slip I’ll be ready to step in.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Though in competition with his fellow defenders, Butler is on hand to deliver advice and takes his seniority within the squad very seriously.

“They all come to me,” he said. “I speak to them every day.

“If they need anything then I’m here for them.

“I think in every team environment you need a couple of experienced lads to keep everyone grounded and not let anyone get carried away.”


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.