Aodhan Doherty insists he never considered any other club after visiting Blackburn Rovers.

The young Northern Irish forward has joined Rovers on a permanent deal from Linfield. The 18-year-old has signed a three-year deal and will go into Mike Sheron's Under-21 team for next season.

Rovers are keen to pick up emerging talent to supplement their own supply line in the Academy. They paid a fee for Doherty and will take Larne's Jack Hastings on trial.

Doherty has spent time with Premier League clubs in recent years too but once he saw the pathway and opportunity at Rovers, his mind was made up.

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He is itching for pre-season to begin, with players due back in on Monday.

“It’s my first week of training and it’s exciting times,” he told The Belfast Times.

“I have been itching to get across for some time and couldn’t wait to meet everyone and see the facilities.

“It was always going to be interesting to see how the coaches are and what the sessions are like. Tom Atcheson is here, and there are a few Irish boys who can help with the settling in. There is no chance of me being homesick.

“I haven’t been on trial, I just visited the club to see what it was like. I had a few options, but once I saw what Blackburn could offer, there was no chance of me going anywhere else.”

Doherty has already made a mark with Northern Ireland's Under-18s, managed by former West Brom defender Gareth McAuley. He is expected to feature in the European Under-19 Championship in Northern Ireland in July, which will feature some of the hottest talent in an eight-team tournament.

 There is a clear pathway for young players to jump into the senior squad, if their performances merit it. Doherty sees Rovers as the perfect platform not just to build hos club career but to improve his international chances too.

“Moving over here has put a bigger spotlight on my name,” he said. 

“The Northern Ireland senior squad is very young, and Michael (O’Neill) has shown faith in the younger players, so if you are good enough, you will be selected.

“You just have to stick at it and try to impress the coaches. Playing international football is a major goal – representing your country, and I will do whatever I can to get there. I need to work hard and keep progressing.

“If you train well, you will play and, hopefully, chances will come at Blackburn. I was with the Under-18s camp in St George’s and have been part of the Under-19s, which is exciting with the Euros coming up in July.

“All my mates and the family can go to games, which is nice. It’s a big opportunity, and Big G (Gareth McAuley) is a cracking guy and coach. 

"I’m working with quality coaches at club and international level who have high expectations, and I want to kick on.

“The main thing about football is being patient. If you aren’t patient, you might crumble, but I can’t wait to get going.”