Rovers are delighted to announce that goalkeeper David Raya has signed a new long-term contract with the club.
The Spanish stopper has put pen-to-paper on a three-and-a-half-year deal, which will keep him at Ewood Park until the summer of 2021.
Raya, who joined the club’s Academy at the age of 16, has risen through the Rovers ranks and claimed the number one spot at the start of this season.
The 22-year-old is now closing in on 50 first team appearances in a Rovers shirt and had no hesitation in committing his future to the club when offered a new deal.
He said: “I’m obviously very pleased to extend my stay here. I’m very happy and grateful to the gaffer and the club for giving me the chance to carry on playing for this fantastic club.
“I’ve been here for six years, so I’ve always said it feels like home.
“It was always my intention to sign a new deal. I’m happy, we’re doing well, I’m settled here and I’m very happy that the gaffer gave me the chance to keep playing.”
After making a name for himself during a successful loan spell with Southport during the 2014-15 season, Raya has had to wait patiently for a regular run of games in a Rovers shirt.
He grasped his opportunity with both hands following an injury to Jason Steele during the latter stages of last season and is now relishing his role as Rovers’ first-choice keeper.
“My last spell playing regularly was when I was on loan at Southport, so I wanted to experience that again and I’m really enjoying it,” added Raya, who has kept 10 clean sheets in the league this season.
“That was my aim this season, to take the number one spot and play a full season.
“You always have to work hard, but knowing that I was going to play every week, it gives you that extra motivation to do even better.
“I feel like I’ve improved quite a lot this season. Having played 29 league games, plus two in the cup, that’s only going to make me a better player and give me more experience.
“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is having composure. Obviously everybody makes mistakes and I’ve made a few, but I’ve not made massive mistakes one after the other, so it’s all about keeping a cool head and not thinking about it too much.
“If you don’t make mistakes then you’re never going to learn, so it’s important to take the positives from it, keep a cool head and that way you’ll grow as a player.”
As well as maintaining his fine form between the sticks, Raya insists he has one clear objective between now and the end of the current campaign.
“Obviously the main goal is to get promoted and the second one is to win the league,” said Raya, who helped Rovers move to within a point of top spot with victory over Walsall in midweek.
“We’re going to push Wigan and try to get above them and win the league. That would be a massive achievement for everybody connected with the club. We all want to get back to the Championship at the first attempt.
“My personal aim is just to carry on playing, keep my number one spot and continue to develop as a player and as a person.”
Raya becomes the second young first team star to commit his long-term future to the club in recent weeks after striker Joe Nuttall penned a new deal keeping him at Rovers until 2021 last month.