Debuting for the Rovers in April 2015, Liam Mandeville has pushed through a strong first year in the league. Scoring five goals over six games throughout the Rover’s League Two campaign in November, Mandeville has been recognized as the EFL Young Player of The Month. This official acclaim adds to a growing list of accolades that include the PFA Fan’s League Two Player of the Month award, winning almost half the total votes for the contest.
Beating out candidates such as Wycombe defender Aaron Pierre, Blackpool’s Kyle Vassell and Portsmouth’s Michael Smith, Mandeville has gained extensive praise from manager Darren Ferguson, who extolls the youth’s technical skill and dedication to pushing training sessions to the limit. With a rough start to his EFL career, Mandeville was loaned to Whitby Town in late 2015 to help him gain more experience.
Lasting just one on-pitch performance, the brief transfer nonetheless paid off, with Mandeville’s more recent exploits including a penalty double over Leyton Orient and a standout performance in Exeter city, when he was introduced with Rovers 1-0 down. Delivering an immediate and dramatic entrance, Mandeville scored the equalizing goal of the game and delivered two dramatic assists to propel the Rovers to victory in just fifteen minutes to a 3-1 victory.
The rising star hasn’t always had the league in his eye, however. Having described his earlier life goals as working in law or finance, Mandeville was set for the desk life and playing for a Sunday league team in his hometown until a lucky break at a trial provided him with the opportunity to demonstrate his skill. Signed to the Rovers at 16, Mandeville benefited from a two-year youth scholarship until signing a professional contract at 17.
Scoring two goals and 11 appearances in his first professional year, Mandeville has been featured extensively this term, and is the first Rovers player to feature as the EFL young player of the month. Manager Darren Ferguson has shown a positive attitude toward the development of the younger development of EFL players, and with a philosophy geared towards the nurturing of newer talent stands to benefit from the new EFL Futures program unveiled in the first week of December.
Aimed at fostering the entry of home-grown players into the League, the EFL Futures program is a £2.25m financial incentive for all 72 clubs that is set to revitalize the England national team. Offering clubs that provide starting opportunities for home-grown players under 21 years of age a sum of £750,000 per season, the EFL Futures initiative is set to provide a lasting contribution to the future success of the National team.
While the best chance of winning big as a footballer for most of us is by playing football star on an online slots website, Mandeville looks like he has what it takes to propel him into a long career in the EFL. With a strong skill set that could potentially see him filling the boots of James Coppinger during his controversial three-match ban, potentially replacing the Rovers skipper in the short term.
Described by Ferguson as possessing a strong mental fortitude and gaining praise from David Weatherall, the EFL director of youth development, Mandeville is making strong waves in the league. With a bright future ahead of him, it’s worth keeping an eye on this upcoming new talent.