BLACKBURN Rovers boss Owen Coyle is relishing the prospect of working with the ‘outstanding’ Ben Marshall.

The 25-year-old finished second behind captain Grant Hanley in the club’s player of the year poll last season after starring on the wing and at full-back.


Going into the 2016-17 Championship campaign the debate over Marshall’s best position continues.

But Coyle, who takes charge of his first Rovers game in Saturday’s pre-season friendly opener against SV Ried in Austria, said: “There are certain players who are comfortable in different positions.

“The crux of the matter is that Ben Marshall is a talented, outstanding footballer and, at Blackburn Rovers, we are very fortunate to have a player of that stature.

“I’m really excited to get working with him and see what he brings to the party.”

Marshall and the rest of the Rovers squad were put through an intensive double training session yesterday, which started with an 8am two-mile run, at their Austrian training camp.

The former England Under-21 international is one of four senior wingers Coyle has on the books after the arrival of Liam Feeney on a free transfer from Bolton Wanderers.

But the new Rovers manager, who is planning to play with two wide-men and two up front this season, insists 19-year-old Connor Mahoney also has a chance of coming into the reckoning.

“We have good players in those areas,” said Coyle. “Elliott Bennett, Craig Conway, Ben Marshall, Liam Feeney, and young Connor Mahoney as well.

“I love my wingers and my teams always look to play with wingers, look to try and be exciting, be pleasing on the eye, try and win games, and I think those wide players can help you to do that.

“Competition for places is what’s important because we have to have that. We can’t just have 11 or 12 people who think, ‘I’m playing every week’. We’ve got to have that competition.

“If somebody’s not stepping up the mark you’ve got to have somebody who can step in. Regardless of whatever position it is, it will be a fair fight in terms of who plays.

“If I’ve got a kid at 17 and he’s good enough, then he’ll play. I have no fear and I’ve shown that before.

“I’ve got no fears of playing young players, whether it be in the Premier League, as I did with Jack Wilshere at 17. If they’re good enough, they’ll play.”

While Coyle is happy with his options out wide he is still searching for a left-back to provide competition for Stephen Hendrie and a striker to push Danny Graham and Anthony Stokes.