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'For us as his coaches, it was great to see him making his debut'

Tom Parrinello signals how Zain Walker's debut in Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy fixture can inspire other players in the academy structure.

14 November 2018

Sixteen-year-old Zain Walker featured in Tuesday's Checkatrade Trophy encounter at St James' Park and in doing so, became the first Rovers player born in this millennium to make their debut.

The youngster impressed in the fifty minutes he was given in mid-week and showed the glimpses of promise in Devon that caught the eye of the Rovers fans in attendance.

Early on in his Rovers career, the creative attacker has impressed and caught the eye and has added goals to his all-round game in recent weeks, and is now producing better end product in the final third of the pitch.

"Zain has adjusted to life in the U18's extremely well," outlines Tom Parrinello.

“It’s been a massive change to his life in terms of moving away from his family and living in Bristol, which for a 16-year-old who has just left school is huge.”

"We recognised his potential at the exit trails when he left Fulham and he perfectly fitted the type of profile we were after in that position. There were a lot of clubs interested and luckily for us he chose this club. Already he has shown us what he's capable of producing on the pitch and we are extremely excited to see how he develops and improves.”

"In his last game for the U18's, Zain capped off a fantastic team performance with a fine hat-trick, highlighting the improvements he has already made in front of goal in his short time with us.”

"For us as his coaches, it was great to see him making his debut and it's a proud moment for both him and his family.”

"It shows the rest of the players that are currently in the programme that there are opportunities if they show the right character and that there is an excellent pathway from the U18s through to the first team.”

"For Zain, this now has to act as motivation for him to carry on improving and to make sure that his own personal standards do not drop and not let this be a one-off opportunity. The taste he’s had now should fuel the desire and hunger to kick on and be involved as often as he can.”

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