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Ryman League side Maidstone United sign free agent and former Gillingham player Luke Rooney

Luke Rooney
Luke Rooney

Luke Rooney has turned down the opportunity of a return to the Football League, choosing to sign for Maidstone United instead.

The former Gills midfielder, who left Priestfield two years ago after rejecting a new contract, has been left without a club since terminating his contract with Swindon Town.

He had a brief spell with Kent County League side Stansfeld O&B Club and has snubbed offers from higher up the football pyramid to join Ryman League side Maidstone.

Rooney, speaking to Maidstone United's official website, said: “Being brutally honest I’d fallen out of love with the game in recent months and for someone who lived and breathed it when I was growing up that’s difficult to admit.

“I had several offers in recent weeks – some from league clubs, others in the Conference and a couple of Ryman clubs.

“Maidstone came well-recommended and instinctively I knew it was right for me when I met the gaffer and lads.

“It’s a club that’s got something to fight for in every game that’s left this season, the ground’s really impressive and the pitch is as good as you can get.”

Rooney played 53 league games for the Gills, the majority coming from the bench, before being sold to Swindon. He played a part in their League 2 title winning season in 2012.

The following season he was loaned to Burton and then Rotherham. At the start of this season he had a spell at Crawley before agreeing to end his Swindon contract.

“I’m sure that given one or two games, my love for football will be well and truly back,” the 23-year-old Londoner added.

Rooney could make his Stones debut on Saturday with a home game against Canvey Island.

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