Ben Chrisene loved his loan spell at Rovers and believes he is heading back to Aston Villa a better player than when he arrived.

The versatile 20-year-old spent the second half of the campaign at Ewood Park, making 18 appearances in all competitions.

Chrisene had a difficult year before heading to East Lancashire due to a long-term injury, and he feels it was the perfect place to enjoy his football again.

“It is a cliché to say that it’s a great group of lads, but I can genuinely say that from my time here,” he told RoversTV.

“The coaching staff have helped me as well and the only thing I can do is say thanks to all of them, and to the fans who have made me feel welcome in my short stay.

“I think there are loads of things I can take from it. Any loan you go on, you learn a lot about the men’s game – especially when you are young like me.

“I am still learning and I think that was the good thing about coming here, the club has produced so many young players who have gone onto big things or are still here now and doing well. That has helped massively.”

The youngster got his first taste of Championship football during the 1-1 draw against Huddersfield in January and went on to play 16 times in the second tier, including the stunning 2-0 victory at champions Leicester on the final day as John Eustace’s men secured safety.

“The first thing you feel is shock because you can’t prepare yourself for it really,” he explained. “The more games you play, and with the opportunities I have had, you get used to it more.

“It is a shame that the season has ended. It goes so quickly and you want more experience to feel more and more comfortable. But it has been good, I have enjoyed it.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Chrisene battles with Jacob Murphy for possessionChrisene battles with Jacob Murphy for possession (Image: Camerasport)

Chrisene singled out the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Premier League Newcastle as one of the high points of his loan spell. Although Rovers ultimately suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak, they gained plenty of plaudits for a spirited display against Eddie Howe’s squad of superstars.

The 1-0 win at Elland Road was another memorable occasion for the Villa youngster, coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes and helping keep a dangerous Leeds attack at bay to secure a crucial three points in the relegation battle.

“Everyone straight away is going to jump to the Newcastle game, I hadn’t played 120 minutes in my career,” he grinned.

“The Leeds game, even coming on for the last five or 10 minutes, getting a block in and being part of the team is just as enjoyable.

“There have been loads of experiences that have helped me and it has been great to be a part of.

“When I have been out of the team, I was just thinking about what I could do to contribute if I came on or if I didn’t – whether that is a block or just talking to the other lads to help them. It is all part of the experience.”

There were also a few low points along the way as Eustace’s men battled against the drop, but Chrisene reckons the tough times are where the most important lessons are learnt.

“You can’t dwell on things too much,” he insisted. “There have been a lot of ups and downs, especially in the second half of the season.

“We all will admit that we didn’t want to be in the position we were in, but you can’t think too much about these things. You just have to focus on the positives at times and move onto the next game.

“The experiences when it has been hard – not getting results or even not playing – those things make me a better player rather than the highs like Leeds and Newcastle.”

Chrisene, whose only other taste of senior football to date came at Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership, is not sure what his immediate future holds.

“In football, you can never say never because you don’t know what is going to happen,” he said. “If this is the only spell I have with the club, it has been a very memorable time.”