Matthew Olosunde’s time at Rotherham United was filled with both highs and lows, but now the young American defender will embark on a new opportunity which poses the best chance for his potential as a professional player.
EFL Championship side Preston North End signed Olosunde on Wednesday, ending lengthy speculation about where the free agent fullback would end up next. After rejecting a contract extension to stay with Rotherham United in League One, the 23-year-old made the jump back to the English second tier with Preston and now has an opportunity to contend for a starting role and fight for Premier League promotion.
“I’m happy to be given this opportunity to go back to the Championship and show what I can do at that level,” Olosunde said in a club interview. “I’m definitely looking forward to getting into it and getting to grips with things, and meeting all the lads. It’s always good getting to meet new people and make new friends so I’m very excited.
“Hopefully fans are back,” Olosunde said. “I’m definitely excited to try and make an impression on everyone and give my all for the fans, for the club and for everyone watching out there.”
Olosunde comes into the fold in Frankie McAvoy’s squad, looking to help Preston North End improve on its 12th place finish in the Championship last season. The New Jersey native showed his versatility as a defender in both the second and third tiers, being used as a right back and also as a wing back in Paul Warne’s set up.
Olosunde has totaled 72 appearances so far following his exit from Manchester United in 2019, continuing to grow as a professional player and experience the highs and lows of what the game can offer. McAvoy has already gotten to see Olosunde on the pitch during Preston’s two league matches against Rotherham United last season and is hoping to help him continue his development and also get back into the picture with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“He’s had one cap already for the United States, so hopefully he can find a home here and start to do well, kick on and he’ll be looking to try and get back into the United States setup,” McAvoy said in an interview. “This club gives him the platform for him to do that.”
Olosunde comes into preseason camp fighting for the starting right back job alongside returning starter Joe Rafferty. Rafferty played in 22 league matches last season for Preston, and overall has featured in over 300 matches between England’s lower leagues and cup competitions.
Olosunde’s new journey in England is just beginning and while he won’t be suiting up for Rotherham United, his past experiences should help him as he embarks on his latest professional challenge.
“I feel like that’s definitely helped,” said Olosunde about his promotion/relegation experiences. “With promotion, not everyone gets to experience that in their career and I’m glad I was able to with Rotherham and obviously relegation.
“The good and the bad comes with being part of football,” Olosunde said. “I’m happy that I experienced it and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from it. I felt like it was just that time to move on [from Rotherham]. I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me and I could never have a bad word to say about them so I’m grateful, it was just one of those things.”
Preston North End’s league schedule kicks off on August 7 with a home date against newly promotion Hull City.