Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray has said in-form attacker Ben Brereton Diaz is ‘still a young player who’s got lots to learn’ after his side’s defeat against Blackpool at the weekend, speaking to Lancashire Live.
The Chilean has been in red-hot form so far this season, stepping up after the departures of last term’s main talisman Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliott.
24-year-old Armstrong, who now plies his trade in the Premier League with Southampton, scored 28 times in the league for the Lancashire side during the 2020/21 campaign and came second in the second-tier goals tally behind Brentford’s Ivan Toney.
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Although Harvey Elliott didn’t exactly reach the goalscoring heights Armstrong was able to, his seven goals and 11 assists still proved to be vital for a Blackburn Rovers side that may have heavily struggled without the duo’s impact in the last 12 months.
But Brereton Diaz could potentially pass Armstrong’s goal total if the 22-year-old can continue in the same vein, scoring ten goals in 11 Championship displays so far this season and helping to get Mowbray’s side off to a quick start this season despite recent losses.
For a man that was only able to record 12 goalscoring contributions (goals and assists combined) in 40 league games during the last campaign, which is still a respectable total, this has been a meteoric rise for the 22-year-old who looks destined for the Premier League on his current trajectory.
Manager Mowbray, however, has made attempts to bring the Chilean and the hype surrounding him back down to earth, admitting he wasn’t happy with his first-half performance against Blackpool at the weekend and making an admission on his development, with the former Nottingham Forest man only turning 22 in April.
The 57-year-old said: “He didn’t first-half, did he? Let’s be honest, he wasn’t very good in the first-half.
“So let’s not get carried away with that.
“Ben is still a young player who’s got lots to learn, lots to grow and he’s a fantastic human being with a growth mindset. He will learn and grow and hopefully the goals keep coming for him.
“Let’s hope he has a good time with Chile, let’s hope he comes back fit and continues to score more goals.”
With all the talk surrounding him, Mowbray is the right manager at the right time for Brereton Diaz.
The attacker may have ambitions of playing in the Premier League in the future – especially considering his current form – but a man of his manager’s experience will have already dealt with several young players throughout his lengthy managerial career and can utilise it to help his star man.
His current goalscoring rate almost seems unsustainable, so it’s better that the Chile international is brought back down to earth now whilst he is in superb form rather than when he hits a dip in form, because that could be a confidence-destroyer for a man who has been so influential this term.
He also seems to have become a hugely popular figure out in Chile, so that weight of international expectation could affect his performances without someone like the 57-year-old to manage him properly, and remaining in the Championship for the rest of the campaign could give him the confidence to make the step up to the Premier League.
Consistency will be key for the Chilean throughout the season. He will be disappointed not to hit the 30-goal mark this season as things stand, so if he can reach that target with his contract at Ewood Park coming to an end at the conclusion of 2021/22, it would be hard to see him remaining in the second tier.