GARY Bowyer believes Tom Cairney can be Blackburn Rovers’ version of David Silva as the former Hull youngster looks set to continue in a much-debated position on the right of midfield.
Cairney goes into tonight’s League Cup first round tie at home to Scunthorpe United on the back of a man of the match performance in Friday’s season opener against Cardiff, when the 23-year-old earned Rovers a point with a stunning 25-yard goal.
Cairney has mainly played on the right, as he did against Cardiff, since arriving at Ewood Park in a decision that has divided the opinion of fans.
Bowyer has not ruled out utilising Cairney in the centre of midfield when the need arises but cited the example of Manchester City’s Silva, another left footer who plays on the right, as the reason why he believes Cairney is better suited to a wide role.
“I know there’s a bit of a debate but if you go through the games and the number of chances Tom gets playing in that position, it’s sometimes very difficult to pick him up,” Bowyer said.
“If he plays in midfield you can go and stand right against him.
“We looked at where David Silva plays at Manchester City and you wouldn’t say he’s a winger. Tom does a very similar job to Silva in our opinion.
“This year with the initial progress of Alex Baptiste and the delivery he has got from that area, Tom’s movement enables that to happen.
“There will be times when we play Tom in central midfield in games that we need to, but the best thing about him is it doesn’t matter where you ask him to play.
“He loves playing football, he’s got fantastic technical ability.”
Rovers paid Hull around £500,000 to convert Cairney’s loan move into a permanent deal in January but Bowyer believes the midfielder’s progress since then means he would now command a huge fee.
Fulham paid £11m for Leeds striker Ross McCormack this summer, while Nottingham Forest shelled out £5.5m to sign Britt Assombalonga from League One club Peterborough. “I think when you look through the sales this summer and the prices that have been paid for League One players, Championship players, then our lads have increased massively in value,” Bowyer said.
“Tom got better and better from playing games last season. He got more confidence and he is one whose value from when we signed him to now has gone through the roof in my opinion.
“He has the capabilities to play in the Premier League, that’s for sure.”