Bristol Rovers’s transfer business this summer can be broadly divided into two parts: Leadership and expertise plus the need to free up payroll space, or through a saved Max Emer release list.
However, Gas’s interest in a favor to Connor Taylor of Stoke City doesn’t fit into any of the camps, as the teen is a largely unknown figure outside of bet365’s stadium, but could bring a new dimension to the Rovers backline.
The 19-year-old also doesn’t fit the slightly misconception that Barton will only recruit players during their peak years or older; that is, ready-made footballers of the first team.
Taylor has played for the Potters once and spent time on loan at Chester and Ashton United last season, but most of his minutes were in youth football and the U23s.
To get the full details of Taylor, we spoke to Stoke City correspondent Pete Smith of Stoke Guardian…
How highly is it rated in Stockholm and why do they want to borrow it?
Highly. He only joined the Stafford Rangers team in 2019 and the coaches were impressed with his pace of development. He is clearly ready for the challenge outside of under-23 football.
Stoke currently has a sturdy small conveyor belt for the center halves. Harry Suttar and Nathan Collins have already entered the main team, Will Forrester made his debut on the last day of the season, and Taylor is ticking the boxes too.
He made his debut earlier this year against Coventry, how did you rate his performance?
He was thrown to the far end by an injury crisis against a team that was fighting for their lives at the bottom of the Championship.
He almost scored, but it was a tough night at the other end, and he probably showed the value of getting a little more experience under his belt.
What kind of center-back is he?
He is a big guy, he has a quick and confident possession of the ball. He can really contribute to the game. He has a knack for getting out of defenses and is hard to shake.
What are his greatest strengths and in what areas of his game does he need to improve the most?
He has all the necessary physical characteristics for a central midfielder, so the point is to hone everything. He can and should command in one penalty area and inconvenience another.
It can help that he’s big and blonde, but it’s rare to watch a match where he is played without warning. This can probably work both ways for the defender, and he will need to constantly make sure that all the basic skills are performed correctly.
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Do you consider him ready for the second league?
It quickly became clear that he was ready a level or two higher than Chester, where he went on loan last winter.
So it looks like it will be a win for all parties.
This will be a good test as the next step in his development – having the right matches on a weekly basis, and if he’s as good as we think he is, Rovers will have fun watching him prove it.
Do you know what this character is?
The trainers said that he is a decent sponge who wants to constantly improve. He is ready to step out of any comfort zone, for example, in the case of a loan.