Swindon Town sign Luke Rooney from Gillingham

Swindon Town have completed the signing of Gillingham winger Luke Rooney for an undisclosed fee on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

The 21-year-old had been a Robins target for several months and the Gills initially turned down a six-figure bid from their League Two rivals.

Rooney told BBC Wiltshire: "It's a great move for me and I can't wait to get started here with Swindon.

"The move has been on the cards for a while and it's a new challenge for me."

Rooney, who who was out of contract at Priestfield in the summer, added: "It is a fantastic opportunity and one I couldn't possibly turn down.

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Rooney has picked up three bookings and two red cards this season

"The club being as big as they are was a massive influence, as was Paolo di Canio because of what he has done in the game."

Rooney came through the Gills' academy and went out on loan to non-league Lewes before making his Football League debut in September 2009.

He went on to have two loan spells with Eastbourne before becoming a regular in Andy Hessenthaler's side.

I had a fantastic time at Gillingham and I cannot speak highly enough of everyone at Gillingham, particularly the manager, the players and even more particularly the fans

Luke Rooney on his time at Gillingham

Rooney was dropped by Hessenthaler in November after rejecting the offer of a new deal, although he was reinstated after reopening talks.

He made a total of 61 appearances for Gillingham, netting six goals, and admitted it was a wrench to leave.

"I had a fantastic time at Gillingham and I cannot speak highly enough of everyone at Gillingham, particularly the manager, the players and even more particularly the fans," added Rooney, who struck three times in 17 League Two appearances for the Gills this season.

"I had a good bond with them, they took to me right from the start because I came through the ranks.

"That part of it is very sad - to leave a club where I played my youth football. But this was too good an opportunity to turn down."