Dundalk netminder Gary Rogers praised the influence of the goalkeeping team around him after signing a new deal to remain at Oriel Park for another season in 2020.
The 38-year-old became the latest player to commit to the club for next season at the weekend, following in the footsteps of Pat Hoban who signed a two year deal last week.
Speaking to The Argus after committing his future to the Lilywhites, the Meathman said there was nowhere else he’d rather be.
“I’ve made no secret that I wanted to stay here and off the back of the season that we’re after having, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be really.
“I’m just glad to get it done now,” he said.
Rogers has kept an impressive 25 clean sheets in all competitions so far this season, including 22 in 34 league matches but put his good form down to the competition provided by Aaron McCarey and Ross Treacy, as well as the good work of the club’s goalkeeping coach Steve Williams.
“You set yourself targets at the start of the season and I’m nearly hitting most of them. We’ve obviously a couple of massive games left but at the start of the season you want to go out and play well and keep your place in the team first and foremost as a keeper and in fairness to Aaron and Ross, they’ve been great competition and they’ve really pushed me to get the best out of myself and Steve Williams as well.
“As much as it’s great to be playing and keeping clean sheets, I get great support from the lads as well and they’re part of the clean sheets as well as the team but there is a goalkeeping team there behind it all as well.”
Rogers admitted the arrival of McCarey at the start of the season had pushed him on.
“He’s a great calibre of goalkeeper. He has been in the Ireland squad and you don’t get in there for no reason. He has been 10 years in England and he’s a terrific fella as well around the place. He has really come in and settled into the group brilliantly. I think all the lads have enjoyed working with him but I certainly have.
“He has been a big help to me throughout the year and I’d like to think I have been to him as well. It’s a good working relationship to have with Ross and Willo as well.”
Rogers admitted that the shoot-out victory over Riga FC in the Champions League, in which he saved two penalties, was the highlight of his season to date.
“Having experienced the lows of losing one against Cork City a couple of years ago, to come out the right side of one on the big stage of the Champions League was nice.
“This club really strives to do well in Europe. We don’t take our eye off the ball because you’ve got to win leagues but you’re expected to be up there competing to win the league and Europe is really the barometer for where we want to go.
“We’re looking at trying to get to the group stages so it’s important to be doing well in Europe. We probably just didn’t get the rub of the green this year but it gives you that hunger to go and achieve better things next year.”
Rogers admitted he didn’t envisage still being around in 2020 when he arrived at Dundalk in late 2014 as a replacement for Peter Cherrie but said his desire to be successful was still as great as ever.
“I don’t think you could have envisaged, I won’t say the dominance but to win five league titles in six seasons is amazing.
“I was only here for four of them but the club has really progressed. The core group is predominantly still there and that has been a big driving force in all the club’s success. Vinny has been here from the start. Higgi has been a player and now he’s a coach. It has been a great era for the club and I think it’s one that when I’m long gone and long retired it’ll be something that I can look back on with great pride.
“I’m just enjoying it for now. I don’t want to be an also-ran. I want to achieve stuff and win more titles. The culture within the club, the way we train and the way we prepare has helped me prolong my career.
“When I signed here initially five years ago, I didn’t envisage playing five, six or seven years. Year to year I have to keep performing to the best of my ability to earn another contract again next year but that’s what I will aim to do. That’s the sort of pressure I enjoy because it pushes you to do well because if you’re not doing well I won’t be playing in this team.”
For now, Rogers is just looking forward to getting his hands on another trophy when Dundalk lift the Premier Division title after this Friday’s final league match of the season at home to St Patrick’s Athletic.
“At the end of the season you want to be picking up a trophy and I don’t think it matters how many times you’ve won the league, it’s always very special to go and get the trophy on the night. It’s what you sacrifice all season to get. All the effort in training and the miles you clock up and the sacrificies you make in your personal life, it’s for that league title so you’ve got to go and enjoy it and it’s good for the fans as well to be able to enjoy that moment,” he said.