Edinburgh City defender Gareth Rodger is impressed with the transfer business manager James McDonaugh has done so far this summer – and not just because close friend Keiran Stewart will be joining him at Ainslie Park next season.
The former Berwick midfielder, who came through the ranks at St Johnstone with Rodger, was signed earlier this week alongside strikers Blair Henderson and Allan Smith, as well as midfielder Andy Black.
“I was speaking to the chairman and it’s almost as if it’s a new team,” revealed Rodger, speaking at the club’s launch of their redesigned crest and new 2018/19 home kit. “I’m looking forward to training with loads of new faces. It’s fresh and you can’t rest on your laurels when you’ve got new guys coming in who want to take your place.
“I was at St Johnstone with Keiran so I’m looking forward to playing alongside him again. He’s really good on the ball, technically a good passer. I make fun of him because he’s tall and skinny and say he doesn’t have much about him physically, but he’s good on the ball which will be good for us.
“St Johnstone was brilliant but you have to be realistic when it doesn’t look like you’re going to have a clear pathway in to the first team and you need to go and play football. I went to Forfar and Keiran went to Arbroath and we both played. Ideally we’d like to be playing full-time football, but it wasn’t to be and you are where you are for a reason, but I’m really happy to be at Edinburgh City and having spoken to Keiran, he is too.”
Both have had to make the move from full-time to part-time football, a route Rodger feels has helped him grow as a person as well as a player.
“I think having a few disappointments and set-backs long the way has made me a better man,” he explained. “It’s brought me into the real world and, playing part-time football, I’ve got a job and you need to grow up. You can’t hide behind being a full-time footballer.”
It’s also enabled Rodger to spread his coaching wings, both professionally and for enjoyment. “I work for Edinburgh Council and for a friend’s coaching company, going into primary schools and after-school clubs and things like that,” he said. “I do some community coaching with Hearts during the holidays, which is really good.
“Especially with the amateur team I take [Costorphine Timbers], I absolutely love it, I’ve really caught the bug. I started it two years ago with my mates and obviously I wasn’t able to play, so I said I’d do the coaching. I’ve taken some of my badges and picked up a little bit of knowledge. I just try to do the little drills I do myself and build on that. I love it and it’s definitely something to look forward to in the future. I’m loving taking the team.”