Though heading into Blackburn’s match with QPR four games ago, David Raya knew that Jayson Leutwiler was going to his chance to earn himself a contract extension at Ewood Park, you wonder if he knew just how long that chance would last.
Since handing the gloves over to Leutwiler for that Easter Friday clash at Loftus Road, Raya hasn’t returned to the pitch for Rovers, ending the season with four straight games on the bench.
While Leutwiler impressed at times during his four game cameo with a number of strong saves, Raya will feel that the Canadian’s command of his area – something he himself has been scrutinised for this season, was not much better than his own, despite Leutwiler’s continued selection.
Having not got the chance to end the season with the chance to put in a performance to sit fresh in the mind of Tony Mowbray, and with this a clear indicator that his starting spot is no longer guaranteed, Raya may now feel he is in for a long summer.
Already the rumours have started, with Mowbray already being forced to deny links with England international Joe Hart, who is currently out of favour at Rovers’ local rivals Burnley.
Given Hart’s pedigree and the expectation of a return on their investment in wages -subsidised or not – had he moved to Ewood, Raya may feel that Hart staying at Turf Moor has increased his own chances of regaining the number one spot for Rovers.
Despite that, Raya will know now for certain that his position between the sticks for Rovers will be far less certain next season. There were rumours last summer of a move for a ‘keeper, and these Hart reports already prove that it will be another close season of speculation around Raya’s position, with the general expectation being that this time round Rovers will bring in fresh competition for the Spaniard.
Indeed, while last season names were only emerging towards the end of the transfer window, this time round they have been here right from the final day of the season.
It may not be from Hart, but Raya will know that his place will be under more threat than ever next season. That’ll be a nice thing to think about on his holidays.