CHARLIE Raglan may have only played once in Oxford United’s last 16 games, but the centre half did not hesitate when offered the chance to stay.

The 23-year-old is out of contract at parent club Chesterfield this summer, but felt extending his loan with the U’s until the end of the season was the best option.

Given he has found his path to first-team football blocked by the form of Chey Dunkley and Curtis Nelson, it might seem a strange decision.

But Raglan has been deeply impressed by the set-up under head coach Michael Appleton, describing it last month as one of the best experiences he has had in football.

It is something the defender was happy to discuss again this week.

“It’s an appreciation that the club has ambitions and a structure, which is something I’ve always wanted,” he said.

“You don’t get told what to do, the lads manage a lot of things.

“We get a lot of responsibility and I think that’s a great way to get better and grow.

“I appreciate that and the way I’ve been looked after.

“Maybe that’s why I sounded a bit soft.”

He added: “It’s nice to feel wanted, which I have done the whole time I’ve been here.

“There was no doubt in my mind I wanted to stay and carry on being a part of this environment and at a good club.”

Up to now, Raglan has not been given permission by the Spireites to play in the Emirates FA Cup, denying him a chance to impress.

But the renewed deal means he is available for tomorrow’s tie at Rotherham United.

Raglan featured against Derby County two seasons ago and would love another chance to play on third round weekend – one of the big dates in the football calendar.

He said: “I think you notice with the way the fans travel in numbers and treat it like a bigger game than any other Saturday.

“I’m pleased I can be a part of it. I’ve missed out on the Cup this season so far, which is disappointing.

“It will be a tough game but it’s one everyone is looking forward to.

“We’ve got a chance, so we’ve just got to prepare properly and treat it as any other game.”

And when it comes to support, United’s backing was another reason to stay.

“They’re great and it makes you think I’m privileged to play for a club that has such a big following,” he said.

“I’ve been lucky through my career with that, I was at FC United when we’d get 5,000 to a game when the norm was one man and his dog. At Chesterfield they back the team massively.

“People talk about us playing a lot over Christmas, but the fans have to do a lot of travelling and pay a lot of money.

“The lads appreciate it and we do speak about it and sing the songs together as well.

“Or maybe that’s just me.”