Rotherham United first team coach Matt Hamshaw says that the extension to young striker Jerry Yates’ new deal shows the belief that the club have in his abilities, after he put pen-to-paper on a contract which will see him remain at AESSEAL New York Stadium until 2020.
The Millers first team coach, who was a member of the Academy staff when Yates arrived at the club, was delighted to see the forward agree a long-term deal and believes his success will light the way for youngsters at the club looking to break into the professional game.
“It's great news and it shows our confidence in him with the length of the contract and hopefully he can repay that with some goals and some good appearances for Rotherham,” Hamshaw told www.themillers.co.uk.
“First and foremost it shows that there is an identifiable path from the Academy through to the first team.
“I was at the club when we first set eyes on him and signed him and he's kicked on and flourished year on year and that's been rewarded with his longer term contract.
“Jerry has done that and we've been fortunate this year with a few more in the likes of Laurence Bilboe, Mason Warren and Darnelle Bailey-King, who have all been on the bench.
“However, Jerry is obviously the one who has done really well when he's got in the team and I think the fans associate themselves with him, which is fantastic.”
Yates has been fully immersed in the first team fold this campaign, having enjoyed loan switches to Harrogate Town in 2015/16 and after introducing himself to the home crowd with a brace in the EFL Cup game against Morecambe, he continued to impress the Millers’ support.
His form earned him a home league debut which ended in a win and a goal for the young striker and Hamshaw is keen to ensure that Yates continues to develop, having had a positive season in 2016/17.
“I think it's been a great learning curve for him personally, playing and doing what he's done in the Championship this year,” he continued.
“If you look back he could have arguably ended up with a few more goals and he had the chance at Newcastle and a couple of others here.
“We had a long-term development programme for Jerry and he went to Harrogate and he came back here and got his opportunity in the League Cup and got his two goals there. He was probably a little unfortunate not to get a run after that but when the gaffer came in, he gave him a chance in what was difficult circumstances for him and his family and he's kicked on.
“It's our job to get that out of him and it's something we'll be doing this year, but with all individuals throughout the team. Certainly with Jerry we feel that there is a lot more room for improvement and I'm sure he'll openly say that himself.”
Yates’ success with the club has been down in no small part to his relentless attitude to his work and Hamshaw is confident that nothing will change on that front, meaning there is no reason he can’t become a key player for the club next term.
“He does it day in, day out in training and that's one thing that has to carry on, his work rate and enthusiasm around the place is fantastic and they're the type of individuals that we want here,” he explained.
“It's all ifs buts and maybes but if he's scoring goals in the Championship, I'd like to think that if he comes back fit and ready, he'll be competing for that strikers' shirt and hopefully do as well as he has this year.
“I'm sure he'll get another opportunity and it'll be down to him to take it and make sure that the manager and us as coaching staff can't leave him out of the team.”