HOUGHTON: “Doncaster will always have a place in my heart”

Jordan Houghton signed for Doncaster Rovers in August 2016 on loan from Premier League giants Chelsea. As part of their academy, he helped them to win the FA Youth Cup in 2014. He scored in the dramatic second leg at Stamford Bridge, as the Blues won 5-3 on the night and 7-6 on aggregate, having been 6-4 down with less than 15 minutes to play.

The following year he joined Gillingham on loan for the first half of the season, making 15 appearances and scoring one goal at the Priestfield Stadium.

Bradford City v Gillingham - Sky Bet League One : News Photo

Houghton spent time at Gillingham and Plymouth before arriving in South Yorkshire in August 2016.

In the second half of the season, he went out on loan once more, this time to League Two side Plymouth Argyle. Here he made 10 appearances, again scoring one goal, as he helped Plymouth to reach the Play-Off final, but spent the game on the bench as the Pilgrims lost 2-0 to AFC Wimbledon at Wembley.

After spending pre-season back at Chelsea, he then arrived in South Yorkshire, signing for Doncaster Rovers on the opening day of the season. The young midfielder started just hours after his arrival was announced, however it was a losing start for Houghton, as Rovers went down 3-2 at Accrington Stanley.

Things quickly turned around for Houghton and Rovers, and he quickly cemented his place in the side, starring in a holding midfield role at the base of Darren Ferguson’s midfield diamond. He helped them to the top of the League Two table, and he started every game of the season, until injury cut short his stay in South Yorkshire.

Houghton’s spell in Doncaster also saw him earn a nomination for League Two’s Player of the Month in November, missing it on the award to then-Grimsby Town striker Omar Bogle. He scored one goal during his time at the Keepmoat, a neat half-volley to equalise in Rovers’ 3-1 win at home to Leyton Orient.

Doncaster Rovers v Portsmouth - Sky Bet League Two : News Photo

Houghton has been a key player for Rovers this season, putting in some commanding performances in midfield.

Unfortunately, Houghton’s time with Rovers ended early, suffering a knee injury in the 1-1 home draw with Luton Town in February. However, the former England youth international has helped Rovers to achieve an early promotion, as well as the opportunity to win the title on the final day.

A fan favourite during his time at Doncaster, Houghton has shown his support for Rovers in recent weeks, sitting in the away end at both Colchester and Wycombe.

I spoke with Jordan to talk about his time with Rovers, about how his recovery was going, and his plans for the future:

You signed on the opening day of the season, did you expect to be starting straight away at Accrington?

It was pleasing to be chucked straight in. I usually thrive off that sort of pressure, so I was pleased to start straight away. It was the start of a great run for me in the team.

You were an ever present for Rovers in the first half of the season, was there any debate on you staying, or was it an easy decision?

There was a decision to be made. A few clubs from higher up were interested, but I wanted to stay where I’d been playing and enjoying my football. I wanted to finish what I started.

Your only goal of the season came at home to Leyton Orient, was it a relief to get off the mark?

It was nice but not so much of a relief for myself as it’s not really my game. I’d like to score more goals, but if I’m playing well in the holding role then I don’t mind not getting the glory.

Unfortunately your season was cut short at home to Luton, how is the recovery going?

My recovery is going really well, but at first it was really hard to take as I felt like I was doing really well at the time. These things happen though, and it’s how you react to negative situations. I’m making good progress and I’ll be back stronger and better than before.

On a personal level, how would you say that this season has been for you? You’ve helped to steer Rovers to promotion, and there’s still the opportunity to win the title too.

It’s been very pleasing, but obviously it is not ideal how the season has ended prematurely for me. Saying that, I feel like I’ve got my name out there and put myself in a good place for when I’m back from this injury. I think I’ve played a big part in our promotion so I’m very proud. I will always have a place in my heart for Donny!

What are your plans for the future? Is there a potential return to Doncaster on the cards, and would you welcome a return to the Keepmoat?

It’s still early days with the injury, so I’ve not really thought too much about where I’ll be next season. From my end, it would be a possibility to return to Doncaster if that’s what the manager wants. For now though, it is still early days and I’m fully concentrated on my rehab at Chelsea with the physio’s here.

Massive thank you to Jordan for this, and I personally want to wish him well with his recovery. I would also like to thank him for all his efforts at Rovers this year, and I would love to see him return to the Keepmoat next year. He is a true professional that will go far in the game and he will surely be a big player in English football in years to come.

 

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