As we scour the pre-season teams, react to signings and speculate on the future, one player seems mysteriously absent from the chatter: Sean Roughan.
It’s hard to believe now, but we went into last season with the youngster as our first-choice left-back, and he made quite an impression. Several touted him as a potential candidate for our first £1m sale, and he looked to be settling in well. There were blips, he struggled against CJ Hamilton away at Blackpool, but in the main, he looked like a huge prospect.
I particularly liked him at left centre back, a role he admittedly only filled on two occasions, against Mansfield Town and Manchester City in the EFL Trophy. After the Blackpool encounter, he appeared twice in the league, as we beat Plymouth 2-0 and then in the rather dour 3-1 defeat at home against Portsmouth. After that, he disappeared.
This summer, Max Melbourne was told he could find another club but looks like a contender to feature in the opening game in the absence of other defensive options. Sean Roughan, who has had trials with Premier League giants Chelsea and Southampton, hasn’t had a kick for the senior side. Far be it from me to question a management team who have delivered our best placing in the Football League during my tenure as a fan, but what has he done wrong?
Michael talked last season about a lack of pathway for Sean, and I get that, but with Joe Walsh and Lewis Montsma looking like doubts, why have we not seen the youngster? There’s been little mention of the injuries we are carrying, but I suspect we are carrying a few, and I wonder if Sean is a part of that group? If not, then why has the promising rough diamond suddenly dropped out of sight?
He impressed in the Under 18 setup against Watford, and fans have clamoured for him to be involved in the pre-season action, but he has almost become the forgotten man, despite only being 17.
Many have speculated that it might be because we want him to avoid injury and a loss of form, hoping to shift him on for a decent fee, but a gap this big doesn’t bode all that well for his value. I’ve seen it mentioned that he has such potential that we want to extend the length of time he is with us, so if he were to move for a tribunal fee, we’d get a more favourable outcome from the FA. By that, I mean if he left this summer, we’d get what, two years of development fee, but if we bake him for another year or two, drip-feed him into the side, then he’ll be worth more in the long run.
All I do know is this – the boy is 18 on August 31st, and he’s going to be aching for some senior action. I’m not talking about a loan to Gainsborough here either; he has to be National League or League Two, surely? Whatever happens, I sincerely hope that the talented youngster is found some regular football, whilst on our books, to protect the precocious talent he has for any future suitors.
- Update – I’ve been pointed towards this article which explains he’s had an injury pre-season, picked up on Ireland Under 21 duty. Sadly, I don;t see much of the Echo stuff for one reason or another.