Liam Mandeville needs to repay James Rowe's faith and unlock his true potential at Chesterfield
Liam Mandeville has always had the talent.
In December 2016, aged 19, he was named the EFL’s Young Player of the Month, scoring five goals in six games for Doncaster Rovers in League Two.
He went on to score 10 goals that campaign as Rovers won promotion.
His previous managers have all said that he has got the ability but that he had more to give.
His Doncaster boss Darren Ferguson said in 2016: "He's got a lot of attributes that I want from an attacker; he's got good vision, he can finish with both feet and he's very good technically.
“He's now fulfilling the potential we always thought was there.”
John Sheridan, who brought him to Chesterfield two years ago, said in November 2019: “With his ability and his creativeness, he is our best player but he has got to be consistent.
"I remember him playing for Doncaster when he was scoring goals in League One and he played against me and he absolutely ran the show.
"He should be doing more. He should be scoring at least 10 goals in the league."
And then along came James Rowe who also recognised his talent and made similar comments.
“He just needs to be more consistent in his performances,” he told the DT.
"He has got the ability, the work ethic and the desire to do it.
“It can’t be nine out of 10 and then five out of 10. If he does not play so well then he needs to be a minimum seven to contribute to the game.”
I am sure if we scrolled back even further we would find other views that are along the same lines.
He never really did fulfill his potential at Rovers. He had a season on loan at Morecambe and was then released.
All of these people can’t be wrong and Spireites fans have seen glimpses of his flair but he has not shown it often enough.
Four goals last season and just three this time around, including two in his last two, is not good enough for someone of his ability.
There is definitely a player there and I think Rowe could be the man to unlock his true potential.
For a start he is now playing in a ‘number 10’ position which really suits him.
He followed up his man of the match performance against Halifax where he got a goal and an assist with another strike against Notts County in the play-off defeat.
Unfortunately the season ended at the wrong time for him but in both games he showed signs of a player who is maturing and enjoying his football.
For me he is someone who needs to get in the box more because he is one of the best finishers at the club.
I just hope his end-of-season form was not because a new contract, which he has now signed, was dangling in front of him.
In Rowe’s 36 matches in charge, Mandeville has started 14 and made 16 substitute appearances.
Next season he needs to turn that around and ensure his a regular starter because he is much better than a super-sub and he needs to repay Rowe’s faith in him.
At 24, his peak years are ahead of him but it is up to him now.