Tomasson sets out season-long challenge to Blackburn Rovers youngsters
Jon Dahl Tomasson has laid down the challenge to the next batch of youngsters off the club’s production line.
Sixteen-year-olds Max Davies and Tom Atcheson have been among those training with the first-team squad during the early weeks of pre-season after Rovers returned on June 20.
Summer addition Tom Bloxham, as well as Pat Gamble, Kristi Montgomery, James Edmondson, Harley O’Grady-Macken, Zak Gilsenan and Harrison Wood have all had a taste of life in the senior side in the early weeks of pre-season.
That was a similar case for Ash Phillips, Jake Batty, Jared Harlock, Adam Wharton and Harry Leonard who would later spend the rest of the season around the first-team squad, including four who made their senior debuts.
Training, as well as internal games, have been a way to give opportunities to young players to experience life around the senior side, with Tomasson keeping a close eye on who is looking to become the next Academy star.
And Tomasson said: “We’ve told them that they can be the ones who decide if they will stay with us for one day, one week or maybe the whole pre-season.
“It’s up to those guys to catch the eye of the staff and it’s a good opportunity, which includes Max (Davies) and Tom (Atcheson), who are both only 16, training with the first-team as well.
“They’re two players that I think will be able to play at this level over time.
“You always get a surprise when you give these boys an opportunity, it’s something we saw last season with Adam (Wharton), (Jake) Garrett, Ash (Phillips) and Harry (Leonard) as well.
“The pre-season is the time to work on all the principles, the way we want to play football, and it’s also about fitness and building things up to the first game.
“Maybe some of those youngsters will get game time on a high level.”
Rovers are expected to take a squad of up 30 players for the pre-season training camp in Austria which follows the opening pre-season friendly at Accrington Stanley.
The aforementioned players will be hoping to be part of that, with Gamble, Montgomery and Georgie Gent having been late additions to the squad that travelled to Marbella in December for the mid-season training camp which included friendlies against Hearts and Ajax.
Those who don’t travel to Austria are expected to be part of the ‘Rovers XI’ side that takes on Clitheroe at Shawbridge on Monday, July 10 (7.45pm).
Further friendlies are due to be scheduled to Mike Sheron’s Under-21s side as they prepare for the upcoming Premier League 2 season.