RICHIE Myler has hailed York Knights' ambition as one of the driving forces of his shock move to the city for 2024 - and insists it is not a step down in his career.

The Knights pulled off a major coup to secure the former Lance Todd Trophy winner's services on a one-year deal from Betfred Super League heavyweights Leeds Rhinos earlier this month.

Myler brings with him over a decade of top-flight experience for the likes of Salford Red Devils, Warrington Wolves and Catalans Dragons, and will add some much-needed experience to a York side that has seen the retirements of both captain Chris Clarkson and veteran second-rower Danny Kirmond over the off-season.

After speaking with ambitious chairman Clint Goodchild and head coach Andrew Henderson, Myler has been enticed into a Championship return for the first time in 15 years, feeling as though York is a city that is crying out for more sporting success.

“In the nicest possible way, it’s probably been sped up by 12 months," he told BBC Radio York of his decision to sign for the Knights.

“I had a conversation with Clint earlier in the year about getting to know him, we were just chatting away about what York was all about. I was fascinated from the outside about what the journey was that they were going on.

“Thinking long term about what my career was going to do, coming towards the back end of my Leeds deal, I was thinking about what my next option potentially could be.

“We had a conversation about the club, what the club was doing, and what their vision was, and I was really excited about the whole vision and drive in what they’re trying to do and want to achieve with York.

“York, as a city, is crying out for that sporting success and that team to get behind, so I was really excited by all of that."

York Press: Myler brings with him a wealth of experience in the sport's top flight.Myler brings with him a wealth of experience in the sport's top flight. (Image: Martin Rickett/PA)

Myler contributed a team-high 17 assists in 19 appearances for the Rhinos last term across both full-back and half-back, and still had a year left on his contract at Headingley.

But the arrival of Lachie Miller from the NRL's Newcastle Knights suggests he will be Rohan Smith's starting full-back next term, somewhat placing Myler's role in the team into limbo.

“My situation with Leeds, it changed a little bit towards the back end with some signings, and that changed the dynamic a little bit," he admitted.

"I totally understood it from their point of view – the club had to be seen to be doing the new signings – it just put my personal position in a bit of limbo.

“They said that there was a role for me there and they didn’t want me to leave, but it was more a case of that I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to play and be a part of something and feel a part of something.

“The conversation started there, and the more that Clint and I spoke, the more excited I was.

“I had a chat with Hendo about his whole vision, what he saw the team doing and my role as such, it just excited me. It was all systems go from there."

York Press: Ambitious discussions with chairman Clint Goodchild have been one of the driving factors of Myler's move to York.Ambitious discussions with chairman Clint Goodchild have been one of the driving factors of Myler's move to York.

His decision to drop a level to the Championship has also raised eyebrows, but Myler sees the move as a step sideways rather than a step down in his career.

Goodchild and Henderson have not shied away from their ambitions to promote York into the Super League, and the versatile back admits that he would love to return to the top-flight.

“This isn’t a step down for me, it’s a step sideways," he insisted. "I can see the vision of where the club as a whole wants to go.

“Obviously my life after rugby and when I do eventually retire – the vision and what the club and the city wants to do, I really understood it and I really bought into it. For me, that was why it was exciting.

“It was a step down theoretically into a different division, but I saw it as more of a step sideways, which is probably why a lot of people raised their eyebrows at it or it was more of a shock. 

“It was a step sideways in terms of the long-term vision and I could see how I could have an impact on the field and around that environment.

"I’ve been in that full-time environment for my whole career, and that throws its own challenges in, but working with Clint, the way that we’re going to tailor it, I’m going to still stay in that full-time environment.

“I see this as a stepping stone for future years and hopefully where the club gets to."