'That's the people we want at this club' - Richie Wellens praises Doncaster Rovers new boy Ben Close for big move far from home
Richie Wellens says Ben Close’s willingness to relocate more than 200 miles from home to join Doncaster Rovers is exactly the sort of commitment he is looking for in a signing.
Close was born and raised in Portsmouth and spent his entire career with his hometown club before agreeing a three-year deal with Rovers this week.
His former Pompey teammate - and ex-Rovers striker - John Marquis joked Close had never been past the M25 in a tweet congratulating the midfielder on his move.
And Wellens believes the move on and off the pitch demonstrates Close’s desire to throw himself into life at the Keepmoat.
“That is the people we want at this football club,” Wellens said.
“He’s prepared to move him and his girlfriend up here and live in Doncaster.
“He’s going to put himself full pelt at this club and his career.
“The next three years are going to be really important for his career.
“I think it shows with a club like Portsmouth offering him a deal and he’s said no and come to us. I don’t think it’s a financial decision.
“I think it’s a decision that he wants to get to the Championship and him looking how he gets there. He sees this club as a good fit for him to get to the Championship.
“Come here, play with a freedom, help himself in his career but help the club as well.”
On top of Close’s character, Wellens believes Rovers have landed a player more than capable of playing Championship football.
“I think he ticks a lot of boxes at 24-years-old,” Wellens said.
“He’s got good experience at this level. He’s been at this level for four years, he’s been in the play-offs twice, he’s won the Checkatrade.
“He’s played for a big club with high expectations and he’s grown up there.
“Some players get to that stage of their career where they need to get away from their hometown club and we want him to come here and we’ll take the shackles off him.
“He’s a really good footballer, technically very good.
“He’s a player that scores goals in midfield and I feel he’s got more goals to give.
“We’ll take the shackles off him and let him play with a freedom.”