Lewis Holtby has suggested Rovers could be moving forward in a different direction after the club opted against offering him a new deal.

Tony Mowbray has also hinted that an Academy heavy XI could be on the cards for Rovers next season with several having been integrated into the fold in recent season.

Holtby, along with Corry Evans and Stewart Downing, will leave the club this season, and their departures saw a midfield of Jacob Davenport, John Buckley and Lewis Travis start on the final day of the season against Birmingham City.

Travis, at 23, is the most experienced of that trio and has clocked up over 100 appearances for the club since his debut in 2017.

Darragh Lenihan has assumed the captain’s armband this season, with Ryan Nyambe already a regular in the side, and John Buckley and Joe Rankin-Costello, as well as Scott Wharton, have been incorporated into the first-team picture.

With Davenport waiting for an opportunity, Harry Pickering coming into the fold for next season, Ben Brereton and Tyrhys Dolan in attack, Rovers have plenty of players keen to kick on with their careers at a time when they are releasing several others moving into the final stages of theirs.

Having trained, and played, alongside the club’s emerging talent, Holtby feels it is a good move for the club, knowing they are ready for the opportunities that they will likely be afforded in the coming season.

He feels that will be a welcome step among the club’s supporters too, having already tipped defender Wharton to follow in Lenihan’s footsteps and become Rovers captain in the years to come.

“I think the club is going in a different direction with the young talent we have here,” the 30-year-old explained.

“I think that’s the right choice because there is a lot of young talent at the club, especially in my position.

“They deserve the chance and I would be exactly the same if I was there age again.

“I see the bright talent that we have at Rovers, including those in the Under-23s as well.

“They have the talent and a lot comes down to desire and a bit of luck from there.

“We have a lot of them who have come through the ranks and that’s a great identification for the fans to see those homegrown players playing in the first team.”

Rovers hope for a bigger impact from Daniel Ayala next season, the central defender making just a 10th appearance of the campaign on the final day against Birmingham City after injury troubles in 2021. His injury prompted Rovers to make moves for two more Premier League prospects on loan, teenage centre backs Jarrad Branthwaite and Taylor Harwood-Bellis arriving from Everton and Manchester City respectively.

Rovers also loaned in Harvey Elliott from Liverpool, and there was often a young look to their side last season, the team for February’s loss at Nottingham Forest having an average age of 22.8, the lowest of any team selected by a Championship club last term.

While Rovers relied on Premier League Academies for three players last season, their own fared well in Premier League, finishing fourth behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham, while several youngsters were also loaned out to the EFL.

And Mowbray said of his options for next season: “Will the team be full of young Academy, homegrown, hungry, young players with a sprinkling of signings? Maybe.

“You put Nyambe, Lenihan, Travis, Rankin-Costello, Davenport, Buckley, all those players into the thinking, what’s the team going to look like? Can we be competitive, is there enough talent to be competitive without Dack, Armstrong if we took a big bid for him.

“Young players are all ready, they all want to go.

“How would the team look? “Where’s the experience?

“Hopefully Daniel Ayala stays fit and plays a lot of football matches.”