Tom Lawrence has told RamsTV that Gary Rowett’s desire and determination to sign him was a big reason in his decision to sign for Derby County.
The 23-year-old Wales international has put pen to paper on a long-term contract with the Rams and joins for undisclosed fee from Leicester City.
Rowett, the Derby manager, has also revealed that Lawrence was his top target this summer when it came to signing a winger.
The former Manchester United academy graduate had a standout 2016/17 season – one which he has labelled as the best campaign of his career to date – and scored 11 goals during a loan spell with Ipswich Town.
And after hearing of the Rams’ interest, Lawrence was just as keen as Rowett to get the move finalised.
In his first interview as a Derby player, he told RamsTV: “It’s taken longer than expected, but I am absolutely delighted that it is all done now.
“From when Derby first showed their interest to now, it’s been a while. During that time you have to be patient and keep doing what you’re doing.
“I let my feelings be known very early on that I was interested in coming to this club. The manager here had made it clear that he wanted me here too and to be part of his plans moving forward and at that point, it felt like the right time to move.
“It’s been long awaited – but I’m glad that it’s all sorted.”
Lawrence is the Rams’ fourth signing of the summer – following Curtis Davies, Andre Wisdom and Tom Huddlestone in joining Derby for the 2017/18 season.
The ambitious wideman is impressed with Rowett’s recruits, but says that is one of a number of reasons why joining Derby was an appealing prospect.
“Seeing first-hand what he has done with his new signings, the squad that he has already got in place and the ambition of the club was what brought me here,” Lawrence added.
“You want to play at the highest level that you can, but I think the whole club, the whole set-up here and the ambition here of getting to the Premier League was a big pull.
“I can’t wait to get going now.”
Whilst he was not able to feature for Derby tonight against Preston North End tonight, Lawrence has now quickly set his sights on making his debut this weekend when the Rams travel to Bolton Wanderers.
“The plan now is try and be involved at the weekend,” he said.
“We have got a few hard training sessions between now and then and hopefully I can prove to the manager that I am ready.
“I didn’t play too much during pre-season, but I feel my fitness levels are ok. I just can’t wait to get started.”