How Nicky Law and Matt Taylor helped convince Rory McArdle to join Exeter City

Northern Ireland international Rory McArdle said his season playing alongside Matt Taylor played a big part in convincing him to join Exeter City.

Centre-back McArdle who has played 17 times at full international level for Northern Ireland, joins the Grecians with an impressive record having played near 500 league games for various clubs such as Rochdale, Bradford and Scunthorpe United.

It was at Bradford where McArdle first met Taylor, having played alongside the City manager in the heart of the defence, and the new signing said that his new boss played a big part in convincing him to come down to Devon.

Rory McArdle of Exeter City during the first day of Pre Season Training at the Cliff Hill Training Ground in Exeter, Devon on 6 Aug. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK.
(Image: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

“It was a big factor,” he said. “I had a good year with the manager at Bradford and from speaking to him, initially, and knowing what his personality is like, it is something that I like. I have, obviously, seen enough of Exeter from the football side of things and Matty was big on everything else. I came down and looked around and he really made an effort to try and help us settle in and things like that. So, yeah, it has been massive.”

McArdle spent the last of his five seasons at Bradford before his move to Scunthorpe United alongside Nicky Law, and said that he spoke to him about moving down from Yorkshire to Exeter after he also made the same switch a couple of years ago.

“I spoke to Lawsy (Nicky Law) in the build-up to coming down and he had nothing but good things to say,” he said.

“As you can imagine, he is really settled here and I think if you look at Nicky from the footballing side, you see how well he has done since he has come here and I think that happens when you are settled and you are happy.

Nicky Law of Exeter City arriving ahead of the Sky Bet League Two Play Off Semi Final 1st leg between Colchester United v Exeter City on 18th June 2020 at the JobServe Community Stadium, Colchester. Photo:Dan Weir/PPAUK.
Nicky Law of Exeter City arriving ahead of the Sky Bet League Two Play Off Semi Final 1st leg between Colchester United v Exeter City on 18th June 2020 at the JobServe Community Stadium, Colchester. Photo:Dan Weir/PPAUK.

“That is a massive thing for us and from coming into today, and meeting all the lads, and them making you feel welcome it all helps. Even after you have had a few different pre-seasons, you know it is never easy going into a different or strange environment. So, the little things are a massive help.”

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McArdle is known for his physical approach to the game, as well as his ability to attack headers both in his own and the opposition’s penalty area, and added that he would describe his strength as one of his main attributes and he knows the important of chipping in with goals when he can as well.

“Defending, over the last few years has probably changed a bit towards the higher end, but at the end of the game or at the end of the season, the first thing I look at is if we have kept a clean sheet or how many goals we have conceded throughout the season,” he said.

“Ultimately, that is what we are paid to do, keep clean sheets, that is our job. It might not be pretty at times, but I think from a defensive point of view if we can keep as many clean sheets as possible it gives the rest of the lads that confidence and that base to build from.

“Anything after that, it is always a bonus. Obviously there is a style of play and that is what everyone wants to see but there are going to be games where it is going to be scrappy and when we do have those games it is about coming out of the other side with those three points.”

“I think it is important that we do try and contribute with goals as well,” he added.

“Obviously, everybody looks at the front lads who are expected to create and score but when we have set-pieces and wide free-kicks there is no point in anybody going up there if they are not expecting to score. You keep making your runs and you go in there with a bit of intent and you can get the rewards and if we can chip in with a few goals here and there then they might be goals that get you over the line at the end of the season.”

Devon Live