The EFL is championing the talent that has been produced by its member clubs as part of Youth Development Week and amid 24 of the 26 players named in the England Euro 2020 squad having come through an EFL club, played in the Football League or made their debut in one of their competitions.

The good news for Rovers is they will be in receipt of a cash boost having come out on top in the Championship for handing opportunities to homegrown players, who come under the EFL Futures banner, in 2020/21.

For the past decade Rovers have had at least one homegrown player in their matchday squad, some 544 matches, with 10 Academy-produced players having featured for the first-team this past season.

They are captained by one, in Darragh Lenihan, while for the 3-1 win over QPR in November, the whole back four was made up of homegrown players.

There is years of service and dedication from the players and their parents along the way, but also a host of Academy staff who they have encountered along their journeys to put themselves in a position to challenge for first-team honours.

Andrew Fisher, since moved on to MK Dons, featured once in 2020/21, as did Hayden Carter, later enjoying a fine loan spell at Burton Albion, as well as Dan Butterworth and Luke Brennan who became the latest Academy graduate to make his debut in the defeat to Nottingham Forest in October.

Scott Wharton made his first league start in over four years only for injury to cut short his season in December after eight appearances, just after he was making the place alongside captain Lenihan his own.

Lenihan again was a mainstay of the side, featuring 44 times in all, a number that Lewis Travis would likely have hit were it not for injuries, restricting him to 22 outings.

Joe Rankin-Costello has had a fine rise to the first-team stage in the last 18 months, and would have made many more than the 16 appearances he did were it not for injuries, but with a new long-term deal in the bag, following in the footsteps of Wharton, he is a player the club are keen to build a side around.

So too is John Buckley, the youngster having clocked up over a decade at Rovers, going from Under-9s to the first-team, eventually ending the season on 28 appearances.

Where Buckley has come all the way through the ranks, and Rankin-Costello brought in after his release from Manchester United, 27-year-old Lenihan and 23-year-old Nyambe arrived in England from Ireland and Namibia respectively to represent the club, and then subsequently their respective countries.

It is a fine achievement for the club and the Category One Academy that continues to punch above its weight in producing players, and also in Premier League 2, ending the 2020/21 in fourth, having been Manchester City’s closest challengers for much of the season.

The sheer number of players for the first-team set it apart, and while other clubs may herald their achievements of one player a decade, Rovers continually produce players on a regular basis, easing the burden on the first-team manager and the transfer team.

The next question is also ‘who’s next?’ and fortunately for Rovers, they might not have long to wait.

The expectations are that Buckley, Rankin-Costello, Wharton and Travis will help keep the Academy influence a strong one in the coming years as others wait in the wings.

Right back Dan Pike will be keeping a close eye on the contractual struggles with Nyambe, the Namibian tied down for just one more season, and with no progress on an extension, Pike, who himself signed a new contract last month, could well be the man primed to take that berth long-term.

The 19-year-old has himself already clocked up close to a decade at Rovers and featured in three matchday squads last season, catching the eye of Mowbray in training.

Jake Garrett and Lenni Cirino have now completed their two-year scholarships and will turn professional looking to build on the impressive impact they made in the second half of the season with the Under-23s.

Left back Cirino and holding midfielder Garrett have been identified as players who can help make that step up, while the injuries that have blighted Butterworth and Jack Vale can hopefully be overcome to ensure they are pushing for inclusion in Mowbray’s squad in the not too distant futures.

Carter too returns from a loan spell at Burton having won rave reviews, and keen to follow in the footsteps of Wharton in going from loan ranger to Rovers regular.

The nature of the beast is that not all Academy prospects will make it, whether it be owing to the competition in their position, injuries, not progressing as the club had hoped, or wanting a fresh challenge.

Joe Grayson leaves after more than 10 years at the club, Stefan Mols too, while Lewis Thompson has also been with the club since Under-14s level.

Others such as Brad Lyons, offered an opportunity to help further his career, will be on the look-out for new clubs, and Rovers will place plenty of emphasis on trying to help them get fixed up with new clubs.

The number of Rovers-produced players in the EFL and also Premier League, after David Raya helped Brentford to promotion, is an equally big achievement.

As form, finance and frustration builds at times on the first-team stage, the Rovers Academy has been a real source of productivity and pride for staff and supporters alike.