Blackburn manager Paul Lambert has singled out a young Irishman for praise after his side fought back from 1-0 down to draw 1-1 with Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night.
Introduced at left-back at around the hour mark to replace Corry Evans in midfield, Ireland U21 captain Darragh Lenihan was then asked to move to centre-back as cover for fellow Irishmasn Shane Duffy who was forced to withdraw due to injury, and his performance clearly impressed his manager.
Speaking after the game, Blackburn boss Paul Lambert expressed his belief that the Belvedere FC product will continue to develop and may be featuring from the start in the near future:
Darragh is only a young kid but he’s certainly knocking on the door for a start, that’s for sure. I thought Darragh was excellent when he came on in midfield and excellent when he went to centre-half.
I think he's got a decent chance of being a really good footballer.
Lenihan impressed on loan at Burton Albion at this stage last season, so it's very encouraging to see him make the breakthrough to the first team at Blackburn.
That breakthrough is largely down to the arrival of Paul Lambert, as Lenihan just last week explained to the Lancashire Telegraph that he was growing frustrated with a lack of chances under the old regime:
At the start of the season my aim was to get more game time than I got last season. So it was frustrating because I wasn’t allowed to go out on loan and I wasn’t getting much of a chance here.
But since the new gaffer has come in he’s given me faith by saying, ‘right, you’re staying, I’m going to value you more, and I’m going to give you more of a chance.'
It's certainly a positive for Irish football that Lenihan appears to be making an impact when given the chance, so we'll be keeping a keen eye on him in the coming months.
His preferred position is in midfield, but he is also able to operate at centre back, and thankfully a Blackburn fan has given us a quick YouTube highlight reel to give us an idea as to how he likes to play: