He may have developed into one of the most important men in the Doncaster Rovers side but Niall Mason admits he did not know how high the expectation levels were at the club.
Mason yesterday confirmed the extension of his loan from Aston Villa until the end of the season.
And he is hoping to be clutching a promotion-winner’s medal by the end of his loan spell.
But the 19-year-old confessed he was not aware of how key winning promotion this season was viewed as when he first walked into the club.
“I think I was a bit oblivious to it all to be honest,” Mason said.
“I was just excited that I was coming to play first team football and I really wanted to do well.
“I’m starting to realise now what it means a bit more, as I’ve played a few more games and been here for a couple of months.
“I didn’t expect to get such a good club to go on loan to.
“I was absolutely delighted with it and I’m really happy to be staying.
“I’ve always said that I really, really want to stay here until the end of the season because it’s done so much for me.
“It’s been a great experience so far.”
Mason is set to make his 19th appearance for Rovers when they visit Mansfield Town on Saturday.
Those 18 appearances so far – his first in senior football – have come across a variety of positions but he has made the left back slot his own over the last few weeks.
“It’s fine for me where I play as long as I’m playing,” he said.
“I’ve still not got a settled position so it’s good experience for me to be playing all these different positions.”
Rovers boss Darren Ferguson was delighted to get the deal done – something he made his top priority for the January transfer window.
“It’s very good for us.
“He’s shown his flexibility. He’s played right wing back, right back, left centre half, left back, midfield. We knew he had that flexibility.
“I thought he was excellent when he went to centre midfield at Notts County. It’s a position he likes to play.
“He’s done very well at left back, though he is right footed.
“With Tyler Garratt going out on loan and Cedric Evina looking for another club, I still feel we’ve got options in that position.
“He’s been an important player for us.
“He’s done very, very well. I like him. He’s only young and he’s got a lot of improvement in him but he’s got the right attitude.”