Doncaster Rovers: Praise heaped on Liam Mandeville

Liam Mandeville tries to chip Bradford's keeper Ben Williams
Liam Mandeville tries to chip Bradford's keeper Ben Williams

Paul Dickov heaped praise on young striker Liam Mandeville for showing maturity beyond his years on his league debut for Doncaster Rovers.

The 18-year-old - who has formed a prolific youth team partnership with Jack McKay - made his first senior appearance in tricky circumstances against Bradford City on Friday night.

But with the game pretty much gone, 84th minute sub Mandeville still managed to make a positive impression on Doncaster’s otherwise downbeat fans as their team slid to a costly 3-0 defeat against the Bantams.

He saw a good curling effort saved by Ben Williams before an audacious chip from distance, a sign that he does not lack any confidence, landed on the roof of the net.

Lincoln-born Mandeville is very highly-rated by the coaching staff at Doncaster but under 21s boss Rob Jones warned last month that he and McKay are not physically ready for the cut and thrust of League One football week in, week out.

For Mandeville, who came into football late and initially joined Rovers as an under 16s scholar, the main concern is his stamina to get through 90 minutes. Nevertheless, the youngster grabbed his opportunity from the bench on Friday night with both hands and may even come into contention for a surprise start against Sheffield United tomorrow night.

“Liam Mandeville, when he came on, was the only positive the other night,” said Dickov.

“He’s an outstanding young kid. We want to wrap him up a little bit.

“When he came on he showed courage, a bit of grit and a lot of quality.

“We want people to go and get on the ball, not go into their shells when things aren’t going well,” added Dickov, furious at his side’s second half capitulation against Bradford.

“You need men, and Liam was an 18-year-old man when he came on.”

Mandeville and McKay both penned 18-month professional deals last November.