Stags sign defender Bennett

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Mansfield Town tonight completed the signing of former Rochdale defender Rhys Bennett on a free transfer.

The 24-year-old becomes manager Adam Murray’s fifth signing of the summer following the arrivals of striker Danny Rose, defender George Taft and wingers Ashley Hemmings and CJ Hamilton.

Bennett began his career at then-Premier League side Bolton Wanderers after signing professional terms at 18-years-old and went on to captain the reserve team on a regular basis.

After spending a year on loan at Scottish side Falkirk, Bennett left Bolton at the end of the 2011/12 season and signed a one-year contract with Rochdale.

The defender, who is comfortable at right back, centre-back and defensive midfield, quickly became a regular in Dale’s side and scored the club’s Goal of the Season during the 2012/13 campaign for an incredible solo effort against York City.

After recovering from an injury which kept him sidelined for the final six weeks of that campaign, Bennett became an important part of the Rochdale side which won promotion from League Two in 2013/14.

He then enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in League One as he went on to make 39 league appearances as Dale secured an exceptional eighth-place finish in the 2014/15 campaign.

After completing the deal, manager Adam Murray said he believes Bennett will become one of the best right-backs in League Two.

“We fought hard to get this one done. He’s very good attacking-wise but he’s also very good as a one-v-one defender,” Murray said.

“He has played in midfield so he’s very combative, but we feel that right-back is his best position.

“He’s another who has been promoted from the league and is at a great age with a lot of experience already.”

The deal is subject to EFL approval and will run from July 1.