Ben Whiteman speaks out on joining Preston North End and leaving Doncaster Rovers
Ben Whiteman has spoken out on the decision to leave Doncaster Rovers and join Preston North End after his transfer to the Championship club was confirmed.
After weeks of speculation, the 24-year-old has finally secured a move to Deepdale for what both clubs have described as a “significant undisclosed fee”.
The central midfielder has been one of the most highly-sought players in League One for some time and Doncaster said that they had received previous offers for him which did not meet the club’s valuation.
But Alex Neil’s Preston have managed to wrap up a deal for Whiteman, who made more than 150 appearances for Rovers in all competitions having signed, following a loan spell, in 2018 from Sheffield United.
The Rochdale-born, former Manchester United youth player returns to the Red Rose county with North End and he told their official club website that it was the perfect move.
“I am over the moon to be at this massive football club,” Whiteman said. “There weren’t many sides that I would have moved onto from Doncaster, but this ticked all the boxes and once I spoke to the manager it was a no brainer for me.
“As soon as I had finished with him, I had made my mind up straight away. He spoke very well and spoke very highly of the football club and I can’t wait to start.”
Whiteman also spoke to the Doncaster Free Press about his decision to leave the South Yorkshire side after a highly successful spell at the Keepmoat Stadium.
He emerged in that time to become the pivotal figure in Darren Moore’s squad and played a key role in setting them up for a League One promotion challenge this season.
“I’ve loved my time at the club and I’ve made friends for life but it was just a decision I had to make at this time in my career,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say it was an easy decision at all. I had to have some difficult conversations with people I care about. But for my career, I had to do it.
“I could probably have left the club in every single transfer window since Grant (McCann, previous manager) was here but it wasn’t right for the club and it wasn’t right for me.”
Whiteman also revealed in that interview that a central reason behind him signing a new deal towards the end of 2019 was to help the club earn a significant transfer fee when he did move on.
His capture is the fourth signing that Preston have made already in this window, following the additions of Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Jayson Molumby, Fleetwood Town striker Ched Evans and Leicester City goalkeeper Daniel Iversen on loan deals.
It is also the second piece of good news for Lilywhites fans in as many days, following the announcement of a new deal for captain Alan Browne which will keep the Irish international at the club until the summer of 2024.