Leonard commits long-term future to Southend United after signing a new contract
Midfielder Ryan Leonard has committed his long-term future to Southend United, after agreeing a new three-and-a-half year deal with the club on Friday.
The 21-year-old, who joined the club three years ago in July 2011, has been instrumental in the middle of midfield for Blues this season.
The former Plymouth man originally joined the club as a right-back, but has been transformed by manager Phil Brown into a holding midfielder for Southend this season.
Leonard has agreed a new three-and-a-half year deal that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2017.
The news follows fellow midfielder Kevan Hurst agreeing a new two-year deal with the club last Friday.
Leonard has made 35 appearances so far this season, scoring six goals. He also captained the side while club skipper John White was out injured during January.
Speaking about his new deal with the club, Leonard said: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract because I’ve really enjoyed my time with Southend.
“I’ve had the best season of my career so far and have managed to keep my place in the starting line-up in a position I only really moved to under the new manager in the summer.
“I want to continue my development and I feel that Southend United is the perfect place for me to do that.”
Manager Phil Brown was pleased to tie Leonard down, adding: “Ryan has been a big player for us this season and has gone from a right-back when he signed to an important figure in the middle of midfield.
“I’ve been pleased with his progress this season and has added goals to his game which has also been important for us.
“He’s got a big future in the game and I’m delighted that he’s going to be staying with us for the future.
“With both Kevan and Ryan both agreeing new contracts, it’s a clear sign that we’re trying to get some stability here at the club.”