Chesterfield new boy Liam Mandeville - 'arguably Doncaster Rovers best homegrown product for years' and how he riled Darren Ferguson

Liam Mandeville in action for Rovers against Arsenal
Liam Mandeville in action for Rovers against Arsenal

Chesterfield have signed a striker who is 'arguably the best player to emerge from the Doncaster Rovers youth set-up for many years.'

According to Doncaster Free Press and Sheffield Star writer Liam Hoden, the reason for Liam Mandeville's Rovers release was not a lack of ability.

"There are no questions about Liam Mandeville’s talent," said Hoden.

"His movement is very good, he has excellent vision, and can finish well.

"Arguably he is the best player to emerge from Rovers’ youth set up for many years but when it came to a long term future, it didn't work out."

At one stage, the forward appeared well on track for a fine career at the Keepmoat.

But an injury got in the way, before he brushed the boss up the wrong way.

"He had looked set to become a first team regular after a brilliant run in the first half of the 2016/17 season when he scored ten goals only for an untimely injury to disrupt his progress," said Hoden.

"It was after this time that Darren Ferguson’s impatience with him began to grow.

"Ultimately he was far too laid back for the fiery Scot and Ferguson is not a man keen to persist with players who need too much cajoling.

"One one occasion, Mandeville was absent from a match day squad after starting the previous game. When Ferguson was asked why the striker was missing, he revealed he told Mandeville he would be dropping to the bench but was disappointed with the reaction to that decision. It wasn’t that Mandeville had sulked or ranted - he had accepted it all too easily which riled Ferguson much more than if the conversation had descended into a slanging match.

"That Ferguson’s decision to transfer list Mandeville was questioned by some supporters and pundits alike shows how much talent and potential he possesses. But it was also understandable given the frustration over Mandeville’s mindset."

A new gaffer brought an opportunity for a fresh start, but it didn't materialise.

Hoden said: "Grant McCann gave Mandeville a chance to change his own fate after he arrived last summer but ultimately he could not do that. McCann recognised the talent the forward possesses but also saw he was not the sort of high energy player the Rovers boss' system called for.

"The loan to Morecambe followed and, by all accounts, Mandeville did okay at League Two level without tearing the division up."

Having showcased his talent in the Football League, Mandeville will now play his trade in the National League with the Spireites.

It's a chance for the 22-year-old, who can play as a number nine or a number 10, to prove he can turn potential into tangible success.

"The move to Chesterfield presents him with a fresh start and the chance to show he can fulfil his potential," said Hoden.

"In that League Two season where he truly broke out, he delivered one of the most devastating performances in recent memory, emerging from the bench to single-handedly turn an away game at Exeter City on its head.

"He will need to show such quality on a regular basis if he is indeed to live up to his promise.

"Supporters can expect a laid back player with plenty of talent. On the pitch, he has a languid style that can rile fans when he is not on form.

"What he needs to do most is get his focus right and if he can do that, the performances will very likely follow."