Ryan Valentine insists he has no regrets about his summer move down the divisions after swapping Everton for Darlington.

Valentine has made the left-back spot his own since signing a one-year deal with the club following his free transfer from Everton.

In fact the Welsh under-21 international is the only player to have played in every minute of Darlington's games this season.

The 20-year-old was unable to force his way into the first-team reckoning at Goodison Park, spending most of his time in the reserves. And Valentine admits the Third Division is a different ball game to reserve-team football.

"It's been a bit of a difference. Sometimes you played against Premier League players who were coming back from injuries or were out of the team.

"Technically, maybe, it was a touch higher than playing in the Third Division, but the competitiveness at this level has helped me a lot."

After leaving Everton, Valentine was handed a chance to resurrect his career with a trial at Oxford but it was Tommy Taylor who persuaded the defender to move to Feethams after he impressed in several pre-season games.

"It was disappointing to leave a Premier League club and such a big club as Everton but I'm glad to get the chance of first-team football here," said Valentine.

Unbeaten in their three games under Mick Tait, the caretaker boss is getting the best out of his players and Valentine is benefiting after his man-of-the-match performance against Lincoln at the weekend.

"It's always nice to get man-of-the-match and hopefully now I can take it into the next couple of games as well," said Valentine.

"I was pleased with my performance but it's a team game and Mick wants everyone to give 100 per cent and work as a unit."

Quakers travel to second-placed Rushden on Saturday, a game which will severely test the progress made by Tait's side.

However, Valentine, who is in the Wales under-21 squad to face Azerbaijan in Baku on November 19, remains unfazed.

"The feeling among the lads is that we are hard to beat and we can pick up points even at places like Rushden," he said

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