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Development Squad

Hilton’s high hopes

New boy Joe hopes to learn at Rovers and one day break into the first team

1 July 2019

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Towering goalkeeper Joe Hilton admits he has lofty ambitions at Rovers, after completing his move to the club.

The 19-year-old, who has signed a two-year deal, will initially link up with Rovers Under-23s, where he will compete with Andy Fisher for a starting spot.

The former Manchester City and Everton youngster hopes to learn off the other players and staff at the club, with the ultimate aim of breaking into the first team.

“It feels brilliant,” said Hilton to iFollow Rovers, shortly after putting pen-to-paper.

“It’s a great club, with a great history, and the facilities are top class, so I’m really looking forward to starting.

“Ben Benson, the goalkeeper coach, showed a lot of faith in me and great enthusiasm for me to make the move, which I appreciated, so I was really keen to work with him and the other keepers.

“They all seem like good professionals and I’m sure I can learn a lot from them. I’ve still got my whole career ahead of me, so I’m really focused on learning for the next few years and hopefully pushing on towards the first team.

“I’ve seen a lot of the young lads break through to the first team here, especially last season, and that just gives me a lot of hope and enthusiasm to do that myself.

“They’ve proven themselves to be good players with the Under-23s, pushing on to that first team, and that’s the same as what I want to do.”

After coming through the youth ranks with the likes of Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho at Manchester City, Hilton has spent the past three years at Everton, where he has worked alongside England international Jordan Pickford.

The Rovers new boy says those experiences were invaluable and have provided him with an insight into what it takes to make it to the top.

“I trained with Jordan a few times and it was a great experience learning from England’s number one,” added Hilton, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Marine FC.

“I think his biggest quality is his mental state. He’s always so confident in his ability, he’s always wanting to be the best and he’s always so aggressive, but also so calm at the same time, which is the key to being a good goalkeeper.

“You’ve got to keep your head a lot, but you’ve always got to put yourself out there. When you witness what they’re doing, it sticks in your head and you hope to build on that.

“There’s two great keepers here who I’m hoping can pass down some tips to me as well.”

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