ADAM Henley is relishing the start of a new Blackburn Rovers era – and is bidding to play as big a part in it as possible.
Rovers 18-year-old right back was plucked from the reserves wilderness to be handed his first appearance of the campaign, being started by new boss Henning Berg in place of Bradley Orr.
Henley was one of the few who came out of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace with any credit and he is now hoping it can be the start of more first team involvement.
He said: “It is great to be back playing in the first team and it was really an opportunity to show what I can do.
“A couple of days ago, the manager came over to me and said he was looking for me to start against Palace to mark Wilfried Zaha, one of the best players in the Championship.
“It is great boost for my own confidence, I’ve been playing a lot of reserve games recently and the run of games gave me confidence so to get a go in the first team is really great for me.
“I’ve been waiting all season to get my chance and hopefully I’ve done myself justice.”
Henley impressed during a spell in the first team during Steve Kean’s Premier League era last season, including playing in a draw at Anfield and a win at Old Trafford, but was quickly dropped back into the reserves.
And now, having being handed a huge vote of confidence by Berg, Henley is bidding to keep the pressure on his right back rivals.
He said: “Obviously I was disappointed not to carry on in the team last year but I’m still a young lad, I can’t really expect to be thrown in every single game. But hopefully now as I get more experience and play more games that will start to come.
“The manager has come across as a really nice guy and I think over the next month or so we’ll start to see a bit more of his philosophy and what he wants for his players.
“Obviously it was a shame about the result but there are a lot of things we can build on, especially with the new manager coming in, it is the start of a new era really.
“Hopefully we can bounce back from the result, that’s the Championship for you, game after game, so hopefully we can bounce back and get a win against Huddersfield on Tuesday.
“You’ve got to stay on an even keel, you can't afford to stay down, it is disappointing for all the players but we have to stay positive and go into the next game looking for the win.”
Berg was full of praise for Henley’s performance and said his inclusion was tactical as he looked for a way of dealing with Palace danger man Wilfried Zaha.
“I must say young Adam Henley did well,” said Berg. “He showed he has great pace, had many interceptions and had a good game.
“Bradley Orr has been part of a back four that has done well lately and the reason he was left out was because they had quick wingers and we thought Adam Henley would be better suited, man against man, and I think Adam did really well. “Bradley is a good player, is an important part of this team and squad and we will have to use more than 11 players this season. It was a tactical reason for this game.”