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Michael O’Neill provides update on Stoke City player’s future as as League One interest emerges

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20-year-old Connor Taylor has been on loan with Bristol Rovers this past season, joining from Stoke City for the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign

The young defender made 42 league appearances for Rovers, scoring three goals and proved to be an important part of the side that gained promotion to League One, being named the club’s Young Player of the Year in the process.

As part of a defensive unit that kept 17 clean sheets this summer, Gas boss Joey Barton has made no secret of the fact he would be interested to bring the youngster back in on loan next season.

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Potters manager Michael O’Neill is keen to have his player report back for pre-season duty before assessing his situation, with his side perhaps lacking in depth in the centre-back area if he plans on utilising three in a match next season

However, he hinted that there is a chance he could return to the Memorial Stadium next season.

“Connor’s obviously had the best experience and he’ll come back in pre-season and we’ll see where he’s at,” O‘Neill told Stoke-on-Trent Live.

League Two is a good test. The next step is League One.

“I didn’t compare him to Harry Souttar but I compared the journey he has to go on to Harry [who played under Joey Barton on loan at Fleetwood previously].

“There’s no similarity in the types of centre-back that they are.

“We have to remember that Harry had 18 months in League One before he came back.

“We’ll see where Connor is. He’s a good young player who we have high hopes for and we have to manager him.

“Once he’s had a taste of first team football it’s about building on that so we’ll see what pre-season brings with him and Will Forrester.”

The Verdict: 

It does sound like there’s a good chance Taylor will be going back out on loan again next season, with O’Neill saying that League One is his next step – and it seems fair.

The player has done well in League Two this season but you don’t want to rush his progress.

As the Northern Irishman pointed out himself, Souttar did well from taking the time he needed on loan.

It would make sense to see him go back to Bristol Rovers as he has thrived in that environment this year and will already be settled in at the club.

However, according to Bristol Live, there are other League One clubs who have enquired about the possibility of brining the player in on loan meaning his destination isn’t fixed.

Furthermore, as it stands Stoke are lacking in the centre-back department following the departures of James Chester and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, as well as missing Souttar through injury currently, so whether or not the 20-year-old is sent on loan may be down to the other options available to O’Neill.


Passionate football fan. Currently studying a masters at UCFB alongside writing for Football League World.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Michael O’Neill provides update on Stoke City player’s future as as League One interest emerges

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