MATTY Wolfe said he had no thoughts of not signing a new contract with Barnsley, after living his dream by breaking into the first team despite the difficult circumstances of a relegation battle.
The 21-year-old central midfielder spent more than a decade in the Reds’ youth system before impressing on loan to sister club Esbjerg in the first half of this season then making his full debut in January.
He has started eight matches, generally impressing, and was rewarded with a new deal until 2023 as his previous contract was set to expire at the end of the season.
Wolfe told the Chronicle: “I always wanted to stay here and never thought about going anywhere else.
“It’s a privilege to be at Barnsley and I am developing a lot here.
“It just feels right for me to be here.
“Everything feels like it has come together for me. Now I just want to help the team stay up.
“I didn’t think about the new contract too much but we were pushing for it and it’s nice to get it done.”
He added: “It still feels surreal putting the shirt on every week. It’s what you want when you’re ten years old. I have waited my whole life for this opportunity and I am not going to let it pass me.”
Wolfe was dropped from the starting 11 on Saturday, replaced by fellow academy graduate Romal Palmer who scored but Barnsley lost 4-1 at Millwall.
“Romal trained really well and deserved to play then got his goal so I am for happy him. When Mally came into the team we said ‘it’s competition time now.’
“It’s good to be competing with him.
“We’re friends and we’ve played together for a long time.
“It’s been a tough season for him, I have been able to tell, but you have to be positive around him. He is a positive lad and gives 100 per cent in training every day.”
Wolfe has mainly been playing in a midfield two alongside fellow 21-year-old Claudio Gomes – with Barnsley having only extremely young central midfield options this season.
“We are all young, Mally and Josh (Benson) are young as well. Claudio is a class player, he puts himself about and is a good passer. I can learn off him.
“I wouldn’t have thought Claudio was 21 if I didn’t know, he seems much older.”
The third-bottom Reds are eight points from safety with six games to play, one more than fourth-bottom Reading.
They visit Swansea today and host Peterborough on Monday.
Wolfe said: “Training has been really good and intense. If we get six points this weekend it puts us right back in it.”
Wolfe enjoyed his half-season with Esbjerg, whom he was loaned to with five of his Reds club-mates.
He said: “At the start their players thought these English lads would come and take their places.
“But by the end we were really good unit. They were a great set of lads.
“It was my first time living away from home and it taught me a lot.
“I didn’t have my mum to make my bed and do my washing.”