Doncaster Rovers boss talks new loanee from Manchester United: 'I think ability-wise he is right up there'
Richie Wellens is convinced a loan at Doncaster Rovers will be the first step on a long and successful career for Ethan Galbraith.
The 20-year-old has joined Rovers on a season-long loan from Manchester United to earn his first taste of senior football.
And Wellens believes the Northern Ireland international has a bright future ahead of him.
“He’s a top footballer that has played U23s football for a lot of years now and he needs that opportunity to prove he can step up and do it in a men’s environment,” Wellens said.
“I think ability-wise he is right up there and he has every chance of being a real top player.
“At some stage he needs to take the plunge and show he can handle the physicality.
“I’ve watched him a lot over the years and I think over the last two or three months he looks like he is really physically developing his body into a man.
“He’s a top footballer and I think he’s a Doncaster Rovers-type player.
“He’s on his first journey into professional football and hopefully we can play a big part of his development and he can take his career on because I think he’s got the opportunity to be a top player.”
Galbraith has made one senior appearance for Manchester United, coming off the bench in the Europa League group tie with FC Astana.
His only other senior experience has come with two caps for the Northern Ireland senior side.
And Wellens feels the time is right for the midfielder to get some real experience under his belt.
“He’s going to have a good career,” Wellens said. “Whether that’s at Manchester United, it’s difficult because of the money they’ve got and the players they can attract.
“I believe over the next ten or 15 years he’s going to be a very good player and have a really good career.
“I get that it’s tough sometimes for young players on their first loans but he’s a Northern Ireland international, he’s been away on training camps.
“He spent the whole of pre-season with the Manchester United first team so he’s got the experience of being in senior dressing rooms.
“People will say are they ready and all that, but how do you know until you give them the opportunity?
“We hope he enjoys his football, he plays with freedom and shows what a top talent he is.
“More than anything, we want him to influence our first team and we get the rewards from that.”
The Rovers boss admitted he would have preferred to have brought in an attacking player at this time with his squad short on numbers in that area.
But he said the opportunity to sign someone of Galbraith’s ability was too good to turn down.
“At the moment Matt Smith has got Covid and AJ Greaves is suspended so we’re short in that area too,” Wellens said.
“Ideally we’d have liked to have got a winger or a striker in first but the opportunity has arisen and we thank Manchester United for helping us out with the deal.
“Sometimes when really good footballers come along, you just take that opportunity.
“We were interested in him in early pre-season but at that time we couldn’t do it.
“We’ve managed to do it and we’re really pleased.”