Danny Batth plays like an old-fashioned centre-half – now the Wolves cult hero is prepared to earn the battle scars to look like one.
The clean-cut 23-year-old is known for his no-nonsense defending, but as yet, hasn’t got many war wounds to show for it.
Now, after finally committing his long-term future to Wolves this week with a three-and-a-half year contract to 2017, Brierley Hill-born-and-bred Batth is determined to look even more menacing.
He is currently nursing a cut and bruised cheek courtesy of Joe Garner in last week’s 2-0 win against Preston.
But like Jody Craddock before him, Batth accepts there will be more.
“I’m doing my best to get a few scars – these good looks won’t last!” said Batth.
“I’ve got a little scar across my nose, but that sort of thing depends on how the game is going.
“Sometimes I’ll go for 15-20 minutes without having to make a tackle. Then all of a sudden in the last 10-15 minutes, it’s backs-against-the-wall and you put your tin hat on.
“A stray elbow is part and parcel of it – and I’m probably as bad as any forward- you get what you give really! You’ve got to be brave.
“But we’ve all been surprised by the amount of football played in League One.”
Manchester City’s fellow Wolves homegrown centre-back Joleon Lescott said this week that Batth can go all the way to the Premier League.
The ambitious 23-year-old has set his sights high and is determined that whatever happens, it won’t be for a lack of effort.
“I admire John Terry and Rio Ferdinand for different aspects of the game which they’re brilliant at, and Joleon is another,” said Batth.
“I watched him when he was here and I used to think ‘that could be me one day’.
“I used to watch all the games when I was a kid coming through the academy.
“I used to look at Jody as well – he had a good career and it’s players like that I aspire to.
“For Joleon or anyone who’s played the game to say that about me is a nice compliment. But it’s not one I’ll take too literally because I don’t want to take my foot off the gas.
“In fact it will make me work harder.”
As for maximising his ability, Batth revealed: “I train until I can’t train any more – I’ll be the last one out there and do a lot of extras hours which I find helps me.
“I study sports science, and I see different people away from the club to help me in different aspects of the game. I try not to leave any stone unturned because there’s plenty of room for improvement.”
Having been with the club since the age of 11, there’s no doubt Wolves is Batth’s team.
“The first Wolves side I played for was the under-11s and I’ve captained the youth team, the reserves and the first team,” he said.
“It’s quite rare to find a player staying in one place but I’ve come through the academy and that’s something to be proud of and something I hold in high regard.
“It’s my club and I’ve been here a long time – I know the staff and the manager well, I know what the supporters demand, and what the players need to do and what I need to give them.
“Fans like to see local players and they want to see lads come through the academy.”
So why the delay in signing the contract?
“Most deals take ages – I think my agent managed to negotiate a bus pass maybe!” he joked.
“Playing was a consideration – establishing myself in the team is important, and there was a feeling from me not to jump in and just sign a contract straightaway.
“I needed to know what part I was going to play in their plans, because it’s taken a while to get into the team and get a good shot at it. My chance has been a long time coming and at the back end of last season I didn’t get as much football as I’d have wanted.
“There was no rush because I’d been here for a long time and I always saw my future here.
“I’ve been sat in the stands in the past and thought I’d love the chance to play and when that chance comes now, every time I try to enjoy myself.”
Batth believes the future is bright and reckons Wolves could be building something special going forwards.
“We’ve got some experienced heads but the lads coming through are good prospects for the future,” he said.
“I hope the group can stay together for as long as possible and that will breed confidence and hopefully results.”Subscribe to our Newsletter