Luke Leahy cannot wait to get started at Walsall Football Club after being made Jon Whitney’s first signing of the 2017 summer.
The 24-year-old left-back signed a two-year contract at the Banks’s Stadium on Wednesday following the expiration of his contract with Scottish Championship side Falkirk, for whom Leahy scored 12 goals in 158 appearances over five years.
Prior to joining Falkirk, Leahy played for Rugby Town and the Gordon Strachan Football Foundation before making the move to Scotland and becoming a regular in the starting line-up at the Falkirk Stadium.
Initially a winger, Leahy converted to left-back two years into his spell with The Bairns, where he has been playing since - developing an eye for goal and honing his attacking play.
“I play left-back and I’m quite attacking - I like to get forward at every opportunity that I can,” Leahy told Saddlers TV.
“I’m good in the air and defensively. I’ve got Goal of the Season for the last two years for Falkirk and been nominated in the PFA for the whole of Scotland.
“I’m hoping I can get a few volleys into the top corner, like last time!
“I went up to Scotland as a midfielder and it was three years ago that I became a left-back.
“I’ve learned so much on and off the pitch, and settled off the pitch as well. I’ve learned but there’s so much still to learn and hopefully I can do that here.
“I think this club and me are a good fit and hopefully that shows this season.”
Coventry-born Leahy is pleased to be south of the border once again, much closer to his family and with the chance to take on the challenges of the EFL for the first time.
And the defender wants to hit the ground running at the Banks’s Stadium, excited at the opportunities that lie ahead both for him and for the club.
“I’ve come to watch games at the Banks’s Stadium before and what the manager (Jon Whitney) was saying when I met with him was everything that excited me,” said Leahy.
“I’m just glad to get it done now. He told me I had a lot of potential and that he could help me develop.
“Walsall are a club that want to play football - these things got me excited three weeks ago so you can’t imagine how excited I am to be standing here now.
“I’m still 24 and I have plenty of time to play and get better. Hopefully this season, with a run of games, I can learn even more and hopefully kick on and do well.
“The FA Cup, the EFL - everything I grew up watching, I’ll be playing in this year. I’m delighted to be here and glad to be back home as well, after being away from everyone for five years. I can’t wait to get started and hit the ground running.”
Now Leahy must play the waiting game before he can meet his new teammates for the first time, with pre-season training due to start on Monday, June 26.
“I haven’t met any of the players yet but I’ve met the manager, his two assistants (Ian Sharps and Neil Cutler) and the physio (Marc Czuczman),” Leahy added.
“We come back on the 26th but I’m sure I’ll meet everyone then and hopefully settle in straight away.”
And what is Leahy’s message to Saddlers fans ahead of the new season?
“I’m very excited!” Leahy said.
“I had a few messages from fans that I couldn’t really reply to so hopefully they know I wasn’t being ignorant!
“(My message to the fans is) enjoy the season. I’m sure I will and I’m sure the manager and the players will. Hopefully we can get as high up as we can.”