Arsenal loanee performances impressing after he signs extension

Ben Sheaf with Doncaster Rovers (Photo via Twitter)
Ben Sheaf with Doncaster Rovers (Photo via Twitter)

Ben Sheaf signed a loan extension with Doncaster Rovers this month, and the deal is sparking new life into his performances for the team.

Ben Sheaf (Photo via Twitter)
Ben Sheaf (Photo via Twitter)

Doncaster Rovers confirmed their loan extension for Ben Sheaf this week. As we pointed out at the time, Sheaf wasn’t having the best time in December, so it was a nice show of faith from the club to extend anyway.

Thankfully, for all parties, Sheaf’s performances are picking up again. Doncaster Rovers fansite Into The Empty Net provided us with the following report on the midfielder’s latest showings.

Report from ‘Into The Empty Net’

Ben Sheaf with Doncaster Rovers (Photo via Twitter)
Ben Sheaf with Doncaster Rovers (Photo via Twitter)

After a difficult spell before Christmas, Ben Sheaf lost his place in the Doncaster side. He regained it in the New Year and helped Darren Moore’s team move into the top half of the League One table.

Ben was initially moved into an unfamiliar #10 role by Moore for a game away at Peterborough on Boxing Day, having struggled in his usual central midfield role for several weeks prior. The move pulled him out of his comfort zone and gave him more attacking responsibility, with Ben putting in an admirable display.

However, he was dropped for the following game – despite Rovers earning a 3-0 win against the Posh – and the side fell to defeat at home to Sunderland, with Ben’s ability to break up play in midfield sorely missed. As a result, he returned to the side in his preferred central role for the New Year’s Day clash with Oxford and this has paid dividends for both the player and the team.

Against Oxford, Rovers were forced to rely on the rear-guard to earn a precious 1-0 win against arguably the best footballing side in League One. Ben was important in this as his ability to screen Oxford’s midfield and provide support for a busy defence helped Rovers maintain a clean sheet.

Going forward, there was little to shout about as Ben often found his passing avenues shut down and he did concede possession cheaply on a couple of occasions. This is nothing new for him but he is clearly learning to apply better decision-making and in truth, this was a tough afternoon for the entire Rovers midfield as Oxford crowded them out time and again.

The encouraging signs from this game were carried forward by Ben into the game against Shrewsbury this past Tuesday night. A pivotal game in-hand for Rovers, it proved a successful night with Ben putting in a stellar midfield display in a 2-0 victory that moves the side to within two points of the Play-Off places.

Ben’s screening abilities looked better than ever in this game. He constantly won the ball in midfield battles to lay on attacks, and even had one chance himself from 25 yards which went wide. His link-up play with teammates was on a high level, with quick, clever passes made into dangerous attacking areas on multiple occasions.

An extension to Ben’s loan at the club until the end of the season was confirmed prior to this fixture and it seemed to motivate him on the pitch, as he was easily one of Rovers’ best-performing players. He looks to be getting back to the sort of level we saw from him in the earlier part of the season.

Follow Into The Empty Net to stay up to date with Sheaf’s progress.