Joe Rothwell was handed just a fourth start of the season, and first at Ewood, before being replaced with 11 minutes to go in the win over Barnsley.

Rothwell has got minutes on the pitch in all but one of the matches he’s been available for this season, but largely from the bench, with fans eager to see him given a more prominent role.

His non-inclusion has been the topic of many press conference minutes, with Tony Mowbray saying in the lead up to the game: “Joe Rothwell might be a player who the fans ask about, he might be their favourite player, and ask ‘why isn’t he playing?’ Well, consistency.”

Mowbray then went on to reference Rothwell’s lack of goals and assists so far this season (none in either column), shots (just seven before the weekend) and crosses (one).

“It’s not enough to take on three players running across the pitch and laying it off, you are in the team to create chances, score goals, put crosses in to the box,” Mowbray added.

“When we analyse and break down games and he’s not doing that, it’s not enough.

“It doesn’t matter how tight with the ball you are or how exciting you are running with it, you have to have end product.”

Rovers struggled for fluency against Barnsley, or to create many clear-cut chances. But Rothwell’s defensive statistics certainly stacked up well.

Surprisingly, his six interceptions were the most of any player in the Championship this weekend, and more than his previous 14 appearances combined (5).

Only Lewis Travis (5) made more tackles for Rovers than Rothwell (4).

His heat map (via also highlights a willingness to work back defensively.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Going forward, he also had an impact. Only Lewis Holtby (37) attempted more passes (30), only full backs Elliott Bennett and Amari’i Bell had more than Rothwell’s 53 touches of the ball.

He also had the most shots, and dribbles (both 3) of anyone in the team.

And that’s despite his withdrawal 11 minutes from time.

The wide positions are possibly the most up for grabs, with Lewis Holtby and Stewart Downing both having been used in a deeper central role of late, while Adam Armstrong and Sam Gallagher have moved between the right flank and up front.

Rothwell will need to shake off a tight calf if he’s to make a second consecutive start when Brentford arrive at Ewood Park on Wednesday night.

But it seems the goals and assists columns are the ones that Rothwell will need to improve on. He could argue at a lack of opportunities to do so, and point to his run at the end of last season where, with seven consecutive starts under his name, he scored twice and laid on an assist.

On his performance at the weekend, Mowbray said: “It was good to see Joe Rothwell start well, at the expense of him getting a tight calf, which makes me think I should have taken him off 20 minutes earlier.”