Sunday 15 December 2019

Benson sticks with one-year contract plan in St Pat's move

Robbie Benson. Photo: Sportsfile
Robbie Benson. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Robbie has no intention of abandoning his preference for one-year contracts after signing for St Patrick's Athletic from Dundalk.

The midfielder's departure from the champions came as a surprise, but the 27-year-old craved a fresh start following a tough year marred by injuries and was attracted by the prospect of being there for the beginning of Stephen O'Donnell's rebuilding project in Inchicore.

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However, Benson has confirmed he has only signed on with his new employer for the 2020 season, a continuation of the policy he applied during his four-year stay in Louth.

The midfielder consistently rejected offers of a long-term contract so he could keep his options open at the end of every year.

He is a qualified actuary and had previously spoken about his concerns with regard to the stability of the League of Ireland in explaining his stance.

Benson will use his education in the longer term and has always hinted that he may not play too far into his thirties as a consequence, but he is remaining full-time with the Saints and says that short-term deals suit his personality.

Security

"Everyone is different," says Benson. "Clubs like players to sign longer deals. Some players like the security of having a longer deal.

"I wouldn't want to be locked into somewhere where I wouldn't want to be around. If I'm not going to be offered a new contact, then I wouldn't have played the following year.

"It makes sense to me in my head. Dundalk respected that when I was there and Pat's have respected it this time.

"I'm lucky in that everything I've decided to do in my career has worked out for me. I'm confident it will work out again."

Benson suffered a leg fracture in the opening game of last season and then another injury during the European campaign that was devastating after fighting back from the initial setback. He recalls telling team-mate Sean Gannon that he craved a day when he wasn't in pain.

After a frustrating year, Benson decided a new challenge might get him going again.

O'Donnell has let a number of leading players go and admitted it was difficult to tell his ex-Dundalk team-mate Conor Clifford that he would be released.

The manager has also told some players that are under contract they aren't in his plans, with goalkeeper Brendan Clarke amongst them. It's understood that Clarke is determined to stay and fight for his place.

Meanwhile, Dundalk have moved on from Benson's departure by signing ex-Man City academy player Will Patching on a two-year deal.

The midfielder (21) played with England up to U-18 level, but lost his way in a disappointing spell with Notts County.

Irish Independent

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