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It's been worth the wait

Joe Rankin-Costello made his senior debut for the club at Sheffield United last month

9 September 2019

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It's been a rocky road to the first team for Joe Rankin-Costello, but having made his senior debut for Rovers at Sheffield United last month, the youngster was thrilled to get minutes under his belt.

Such was his impressive 20 minutes cameo at Bramall Lane, the youngster was rewarded with a place on the bench at West Bromwich Albion a few days later.

The versatile 20-year-old, whose natural position is on the wing, suffered an injury-plagued 2018-19 campaign, before returning at the back end of the season.

His displays were impressive, with the talented starlet becoming a goalscoring threat in an unfamiliar right back position under then Under-23s boss Damien Johnson.

And speaking after his first team appearance against The Blades, Rankin-Costello was delighted to play a part.

“It was good experience for me to play and it’s something that I’ve been waiting for for a while,” he admitted to iFollow Rovers.

“I thought I had a good pre-season so I was hoping that I’d get game time this season. Thankfully that’s what’s happened.

“My last appearance was two years ago in the Checkatrade Trophy against Bury, so it’s nice to pull on the shirt for the first team again, albeit in a senior game this time.

“I picked up a bad injury last season and it was a long road back, a lot of waiting around, so it’s great to get out there again.

“It was a big summer for me and I couldn’t rest up. If I took my foot off the gas my legs would probably have gone back to how they used to be."

Rankin-Costello joined up with the first team squad for the first week of pre-season in Austria, and the Academy graduate has been pleased with how things have gone since.

“To be in and around the first team in pre-season, to learn off experienced players, it was great for me," he added.

“You have to wait for your chance and take it when it comes your way. It gives me confidence knowing that the manager likes me and that if the chance comes along he’ll put me in.

“In fact it gives all the lads that big of confidence knowing that. Bucko [John Buckley]’s had his chance already this season and that can only benefit us.

“I’ve never played in front of crowds, so when you go to these places, like West Brom, and you’re on the bench, even when you’re warming up you get a bit of stick."

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