This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Joe Rothwell’s future at Blackburn Rovers is looking increasingly uncertain at present, with the 26-year-old’s contract set to expire in January.
Rothwell has been a consistent performer for the Lancashire club in recent seasons, proving to be a real attacking threat, as well as a composed figure in possession.
According to the Lancashire Telegraph, talks over a new contract are underway, with Blackburn making it clear that they would like to sell any players who they cannot strike deals with in January.
Rothwell has started all 11 of Rovers’ games thus far this season, providing three assists in the process.
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Last time out, the 26-year-old managed three goals and four assists, figures he will be hopeful and confident of surpassing.
Here, we take a look at what kind of impact that Rothwell’s departure would have, and we have asked three of our writers that question…
It would be a pretty big void, because obviously he has grown used to how Blackburn function as a team.
Signing a direct replacement for him may either lead to the club bringing in someone who A isn’t as good or B isn’t as able to adapt to Mowbray’s style of play.
Rothwell has arguably more than proved himself at Championship level and it does now seem like he will leave in search of a new challenge as he enters his prime.
There are certainly a few names in the Rovers squad who could step up to replace him, namely John Buckley who is capable of playing in a slightly deeper role when required.
Whilst of course they also have Bradley Johnson, who, when available, provides a much more experienced alternative to Rothwell.
It probably depends on which Joe Rothwell turns up from one day to the next.
When he is on his game, Rothwell can be one of the most dangerous attacking midfielders in the Championship with his ability to run at defences, and that sort of influence would make him a big loss.
However, it should be remembered that Rothwell is not always able to get up to that level, while with just eight goals and 11 assists in 130 games for Blackburn to date, suggesting he is yet to really discover the end product to match his potential, meaning the club may be able to cope without him.
Indeed, the fact that a departure from Ewood Park in January for Rothwell looks set to coincide with the anticipated return of a certain Bradley Dack from injury, who has proven to be a much bigger influence for Rovers in the final third in the past, would go some way to offsetting the loss of Rothwell’s potential departure.
Add to that the fact that letting Rothwell go in January would at least give Rovers some chance of receiving a fee for him, rather than losing him for nothing when his contract expires this summer, which could help the club reinvest in the rest of their squad.
With that in mind, while it would certainly frustrating to lose a player as talented as Rothwell, it could be the lesser of two evils for Rovers to lose him a few months early in January.
I think what is good about Joe Rothwell is that he can play in a number of midfield roles through the spine of the team.
Whether it’s as a holding midfielder or as a central midfielder or as a number 10, he has plenty of attributes which helps him thrive in each role.
He has three assists already this season and is probably one of the most underrated midfielders in the division, I strongly feel.
He’s at a great age, and he would a top signing for Rangers if they managed to get him on a free transfer or pre-contract agreement.
It would be a blow to lose him.