What a great bit of business by Notts County in extending Cal Roberts’ contract at Meadow Lane to the end of the 2022-23 season.
As a declaration of intent, it doesn’t get much better as he seems to be the talisman and when Roberts plays well, Notts are very difficult to hold.
I guess that could be said about several players throughout history but what helps Roberts stand apart is that more than not since he joined us, he has actually played well.
It’s fine to have some tricks and be a crowd pleaser without achieving anything at the end of it – we all know players like that and I may not be popular for including Stanley Aborah in that group, but have a think – how many goals did he score or create during his 2 seasons? – but Roberts actually hurts other teams.
Any player who has come through a Premier League setup and is still there at the age of 22 must have ability better than most, and we all know how difficult it is to break into a club which spends millions without thinking.
When he says that he should have been scoring a goal a game at Blyth could come across as being egotistical but when Roberts says it, you know it’s with a determination that he has to get back into league football and to as high a level as possible.
And with that attitude, for him to happily extend his current deal by two years is a real sign of where the club is heading.
There have been rumours of interest from clubs in the top two divisions and being out of contract in the summer must have been a temptation because for all the money in the game at that level, they don’t like splashing it out on Non League players.
But, if he can help us back into the Football League, it not only raises his profile but it also raises his price.
And with the other exciting players in the squad, it’s unlikely that opponents will be able to put 2 or 3 players on him as they did at times last season.
Imagine if we have a line up including Roberts, Boldewijn, Rodrigues and Sam – or more likely 3 of them in the same line up.
If you put 2 players on Roberts and 2 players on Enzio, there’s lots of space for everyone else!
That must be a good thing and promises great things once everyone settles, and we’ve shown that in spells this season during the games with Altrincham, Maidenhead and Wealdstone.
Roberts isn’t just a talent on the ball. He works hard without it and is definitely a team player.
It’s a frustration that so soon after signing the extension, he has suffered from an injury which sounds like it could rule him out for some time but let’s hope he’s back sooner rather than later and can add to our promotion push.
And if Notts make a better signing this year, I’d love to see it!