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Development Squad

Damien excited by duo's potential

Johnson has high hopes for defensive pair Louie Annesley and Tyler Magloire

3 February 2019

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Damien Johnson hopes promising defensive duo Louie Annesley and Tyler Magloire can fulfil their potential at Ewood Park.

Both players signed contracts with the club this week and Johnson has high hopes for the pair, providing they apply themselves properly.

After impressing on trial, Annesley joined Rovers from Gibraltarian champions Lincoln Red Imps on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The towering defender boasts an impressive CV, having been on the books of Chelsea as a youngster, before moving to Gibraltar, where he became a full international and played Europa League football.

Johnson admits he is excited by the 18-year-old's potential and was immediately impressed by his personality.

"He came highly recommended from one of our contacts, so the idea was that he would come in and we would have a look at him," said the Under-23s head coach.

"We do get a lot of trialists in, but to be fair to Louie there's not many who we think can improve the group and he certainly fitted that category.

"We liked what we saw. He's still very young and we see his potential. As an 18-year-old centre-back he knows himself that he has a lot to do, but we like his potential.

"He's not afraid of challenges. He's gone and played men's football, he's thrown himself into a completely new environment and he's got himself into their national squad.

"It's a good pedigree for a young 18-year-old, but the most important thing is he's prepared to challenge himself and this is another challenge for him.

"It's a big challenge, coming into our group. We've got a lot of young centre-backs who we like and he's going to be another one of them.

"He's just going to have to keep working and do what the rest of them have been doing and will continue to try and do, and just keep improving.

"We think he will add to the group and I look forward to working with him."

Academy graduate Magloire put pen-to-paper on a new long-term contract on Friday, which will keep him at the club until June 2022.

The 20-year-old played a key role in Rovers' Premier League 2 title success last term and has captained the development side this season.

Johnson is pleased Magloire has committed his future to the club, but insists the hard work starts now if he is to achieve his goal of breaking into the first team fold. 

"Tyler has got some really good attributes," added the former Northern Ireland international. "He's a fantastic athlete and he's a good kid.

"He's been here a long time and we recognise his potential. But it's only potential and he has to keep working hard.

"Credit to him for getting this contract, but the challenge is to impress the manager and break into the first team.

"That's what all the young lads at the club have to do. They just need to keep training well every day, keep playing well for the Under-23s and if and when the opportunity to impress the manager and first team staff arises, they've got to try and do that.

"That's Tyler's challenge.

"Given the position that they play, as centre-backs, you do need a bit more time because there is a lot of responsibility, especially in a first team environment.

"Experience is what makes you a better player and sometimes you have to be patient, which can be frustrating, but in the meantime they've got to keep working hard, keep improving and keep striving every day to do what they can to fulfil their potential.

"They've got a fantastic opportunity, at a great club, and the manager has shown that he will give them an opportunity if they do work hard enough and they are good enough, so that carrot is there for them."

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