North End winger Will Hayhurst insists he is living his dream at Deepdale after signing a two-year contract extension.
“I have done a lot of things I did not think I would do, like score at Deepdale, and it has been a real dream come true; I am so happy to sign my new contract,” said Will in an exclusive interview with PNE Player.
“I can’t wait to get started on the new season. It’s a big year for us and I think it will be tough, but I think we can do very well.
“I am very happy. I wanted it [his contract] sorted before I went away with Ireland, but I was itching to get back. Every day I was thinking about signing and starting the season with Preston, so having finally got it done I am very much looking forward to the new season.
“It has been a hard year and you obviously have ups and downs, but I loved every minute and I have learned a lot of things.
“Hopefully I can come in in pre-season and learn a lot of things and get a lot more games under my belt and help Preston go to where we want to be and that is in the Championship.”
After an outstanding second half to his first full season in the first team, manager Simon Grayson was keen to trigger the one-year option in Will’s contract, but his performances have warranted a new contract on top of that and the winger is keen to give credit where it is due.
“I don’t think it was just the manager, but John Dreyer as well,” continued Hayhurst, when asked about his progression this season.
“If he hadn’t brought me back in, then I don’t think the manager would have played me, so I have got a lot to thank him for. Since the new manager and Snods [Glynn Snodin] have come in, they have been brilliant.
“I think a full year under them, they can bring me on a lot as a player and I think I can learn a lot and hopefully I can get a lot of game time and impress.
“I wish I could be in training tomorrow and carry on, but I think I will get a bit of a rest. I want to kick on and get fitter when I come back in, but I am really looking forward to the first day we go back.”
Readers of PNE.Com will know that Hayhurst has been on international duty in recent weeks with the Republic of Ireland U19 squad in Serbia and despite their failure to progress to the finals, Will has learned a great deal in a short space of time.
“It has opened my eyes to a lot of new things, European football and different styles of play,” he added.
“It has been a great experience and one that I think I have learnt from.
“Thankfully I got a lot of playing time, even though unfortunately we didn’t go through, but I am itching to get back and improve a lot of things at Preston and I am looking forward to being with the lads and training.
“The first day I trained I was absolutely knackered, but I’m glad I have been out there.
“To play for Ireland is a great experience and I am happy to play for them and hopefully I can do it again in the future, but I think also it has helped me to get fit and sharp for coming in to pre-season and I hope that can help me out.”
Hayhurst joins Aussie Bailey Wright in earning contract extensions this summer - a testament to the good work been done in the North End Academy and Will is hoping to see further improvements in the pair again this season.
He said: “I think all clubs want players to come through and hopefully me and Bailey can keep improving for the team.
“I think Bailey has been outstanding this year and deserved his new deal and I think he will be brilliant for us again this year.”
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