UWE Rosler says Rob Kiernan can become “part of the backbone” of Wigan Athletic after penning a new long-term deal.
The Ireland U-21 defender had a year left on his current contract but, after a string of impressive displays, Latics have moved quickly to tie him down until the summer of 2017.
Kiernan had spent time on loan under Rosler at Brentford, and one of the first things the German did after taking over as Latics boss last December was recall the centre-back from Southend.
It was one of NINE loan spells the 23-year-old has experienced during his short career, although those days now look to be behind him.
Under Rosler’s watchful eye, Kiernan established himself as a first-team regular, playing both of the play-off semi-final clashes against QPR and proving he belongs in such company.
“It is fantastic when a young player can progress through the ranks of a club,” gushed Rosler.
“Rob has had to be patient and waited for his chance since arriving three years ago, working his way through the Development Squad and using the loan system to his advantage when the opportunities arose.
“He earned his chance with us and was very consistent when he came into the team.
“His performances were a major positive in the second half of the season, and I am delighted to be able to keep working with him now.
“He is exactly the kind of player we want to bring into the squad and become part of the backbone of the team in the future.”
For his part, Kiernan is hoping his nomadic days are behind him as he sets his sights on the top flight.
“All I want to do is work hard to become a regular first-team player and help the club to get back into the Premier League,” said Kiernan.
Watford-born Kiernan came through the ranks at Vicarage Road, but made just two appearances while being loaned out to Kilmarnock, Yeovil, Bradford and Wycombe.
Kiernan joined Latics in the summer of 2011, since when he has spent time at Accrington Stanley, Burton, Brentford and Southend before making his mark at the DW in the last few months.