Christian Walton says his ‘loan journey’ has set him up to challenge for the No.1 spot at Brighton.

Walton has returned to his parent club after playing every minute of Rovers’ 46 Championship matches during his season-long stay which he felt benefited all parties.

It was a third consecutive full season out on loan for the 24-year-old, after two spells with Wigan Athletic, and he believes that has stood him in good stead to push for a spot in Graham Potter’s first team.

Walton has 12 months left to run on his deal at the AMEX Stadium, but his, and Brighton’s, intention was to always  return to the Seagulls and be part of their first-team plans next season.

No permanent option was agreed in the season-long loan deal he struck with Rovers last summer, as he came in following the departure of David Raya to Brentford, and Walton is excited about what the future holds.

He said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to become the No.1. Maty has been a consistent and key player for the three seasons that Brighton have had in the Premier League.

“He’s had a good season, but I have had a good season as part of the loan journey that Brighton have put me on and I am ready now to go back and challenge.

“Training with high quality players every day is going to help me kick on and I can’t wait to be pushing Maty every step of the way as part of the goalkeeping team.

“Competition helps improve everybody, so it won’t just be positive for me but for the goalkeepers and the team. I really want the opportunity to play in the first team and I am only going to be able to do that if I come back, work hard and wait for my opportunity.”

Walton has thanked Rovers for the opportunity provided, and believes playing for such an historic club was something he cherished.

“It’s been a good season. Blackburn is the biggest (club) in terms of their stature – their history is massive,” he told Brighton’s official website.

“I have played every single minute of league football and it’s been good to get a full season under my belt but I am ready now to go back to Brighton and challenge.

“This season I have really enjoyed playing at Ewood Park – it’s been good for all parties involved in my opinion.”