For the Lads in the academy looking to replicate Chris Rigg’s path into first team football at such a young age Tony Mowbray has issued a clear message, stand out, make him remember you and your chance will come.
"It's mainly personality. All of these lads are footballers, good players, you don't get to a professional level unless you are a good footballer. But what happens next is mainly about personality and character and what drives you internally. Self-talk.”
SHY BAIRNS GET NOWT
"I keep telling the young lads, don't be the kid who comes up to train with the first team and the manager doesn't notice you, don't go around kicking our players for God's sake but you're allowed to tackle, to shout at people, to show some personality on the pitch, so I come in and say 'the little lad out there with the blonde hair, what's his name?'. Because I don't know all the names sometimes when they come up from the academy and they're making up the numbers, but if I recognise them...make me notice you, really. Do something that epitomises your playing style and where you want to go."
MAKE AN IMPACT
"Sometimes it's injuries that give you that opportunity to train with us or be around us, don't blow that opportunity. You have to leave that training ground having made sure people know who you are. I say this when we play a team in the Premier League or whatever in the cup, make sure they know the name on your back and whoever you're playing against goes off and remembers you for a long time. Don't be too passive in a football match, go and make an impact. That's what I say to young players.”
DEVELOPING THE ACADEMY
“I like young footballers as long as they have a growth mindset and they carry the attributes and the assets, but the club policy is also to develop the academy at this football club and try and bring homegrown players through.”
"How much of an impact has Rigg had on everyone else around him? Hopefully positive. If I was in the 21s at the moment and young Rigg at 15 was breaking in, I'd be straining and pushing even harder to make an impact. Rigg coming up, hopefully it's just stirred a few players' thought-patterns on what they need to do. Because as I've said previously, Rigg wasn't picked just because he's Rigg and he plays for England, he was picked because he trained with us and he was smashing into tackles, he was playing lovely passes with his left foot, he was dribbling with the ball, he was playing like he was playing in the car park as a kid. That's what you need to do, show me what you're all about, don't be a shy kid who's coming in to make up the numbers. Personality is what makes footballers and top footballers."