Preston North End manager Alex Neil says that the club will benefit from the very best of goalkeeper Declan Rudd, who has agreed a new three-year contract.
The Lilywhites’ No.1 has signed a deal that takes him until at least the summer of 2023 and the PNE boss believes that the 29-year-old is approaching his peak.
“Peak years are something you look at very differently for goalkeepers than you do to outfield players,” he told PNE.Com
“As they get older, they tend to get better, because it is all about decision making and repeating actions that you do game after game and the physical aspect of being an outfield player, doesn’t really come into the equation for a goalkeeper.
“Declan, over these next few years, we should really see the best of him.”
The strange down time has proved fruitful in terms of getting the former Norwich custodian tied up and the gaffer was not surprised that it got down in this time.
“We have been wanting to try and get a few lads tied down, but when you are in the midst of being in the Play-Offs – which we have been for the majority of the season – and competing, that negotiation becomes a distraction for a lot of players and a lot of them want to put it off until there is a break or it is the end of the season,” he continued.
“This enforced break has allowed us to focus on trying to tie down some of our players and Declan has had a good season – he has had a solid season – and he still has his peak years to come. It was a good bit of business for him and for us.”
Alex has now worked with the stopper for an extended period and hopes his perfromances continue to impress: “I know Declan better than anybody; for the years I have been down here [in England] I have worked with Declan for the bulk of them, probably four years or more now.
“What I have seen of him of late, has been a real maturity, both as a person as well as a player and that has certainly helped him. His consistency levels have been very good this season.
“Concentration levels also come with maturity and Dec now has a few hundred games under his belt and, like most goalkeepers, they get better and better with age and that is certainly the case with him.
“I would see Declan’s net few years as his prime and if he can continue the form he has been in and continue to improve, then that will bode well for him and for us,” he added.