This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Terrace Talk’ series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Blackburn Rovers will no longer be able to call upon the services of Darragh Lenihan and Jan Paul van Hecke next season as both players have left the club.
Whereas van Hecke has returned to Brighton & Hove Albion, Lenihan turned down the opportunity to stay at Ewood Park as he sealed a switch to Middlesbrough last month.
As a result of these two high-profile departures, Blackburn may need to strengthen their options at centre-back in the coming weeks.
As well as looking elsewhere for a new defender, Rovers could potentially opt to hand one of their youth players the chance to impress next season.
Ashley Phillips played 11 games in the Premier League 2 Division 1 for Blackburn’s Under-23 side last season and will be determined to put himself in a position to make his senior bow in the coming months.
As a result of his eye-catching performances at youth level, Phillips has attracted interest from some Premier League sides this year.
According to a report from The Sun in May, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Chelsea are all keeping tabs on the defender.
Although they have yet to make a move, it was suggested that Spurs were looking to get a deal for around £3m.
Making reference to Phillips, FLW’s Blackburn Rovers fan pundit Toby Wilding has admitted that he wouldn’t be surprised if the defender goes on to feature at senior level for the club in the new term.
Speaking to FLW, Wilding said: “This is a really interesting one.
“I think obviously he’s a young player coming through so given the noises that Jon Dahl Tomasson has been making since he has come into the club, it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see Phillips maybe get a through opportunities in the senior side and I don’t think there would be many Blackburn fans who would complain about that.
Quiz: Can you name which club these 27 ex-Blackburn Rovers players are playing for now?
“This is a club that has had a great deal of success in terms of bringing through players from their academy in the past few years and Phillips is, even at such an early age by academy standards, one of the stand-out players not just at the club but even beyond that in terms of how good he is.
“I mean there would be a lot of pressure to suddenly now throw him in the deep end on a weekly basis shall we say but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed at all if he was to get a few run-outs for the first team over the course of the season to get that early experience under his belt which could be useful for him, maybe in the cup competitions.
“So that’s definitely one I would like to keep an eye on over the course of the season.”