Tom Bloxham leads the way for Shrewsbury Town

Shrewsbury midfield star Josh Vela has revealed how attacking prodigy Tom Bloxham led the way during a testing Town pre-season.

Tom Bloxham of Shrewsbury Town.
Tom Bloxham of Shrewsbury Town.

Academy graduate Bloxham, 17, was given an opportunity by boss Steve Cotterill at the beginning of the season and is now a key part of the manager's place.

The rangy youngster, who is from Leicester, has played on the right flank, a role he has played coming through the youth ranks, but can also play centrally.

Bloxham has been nicknamed Zlatan after legendary Sweden striker Ibrahamovic, following the youngster's acrobatic first senior goal, a stunning overheard strike in the victory over Gillingham – which was also Town's first league goal of the campaign.

"I've seen Elliott Bennett called him Zlatan, didn't he? He's a bit like that," said midfielder Vela.

"Tom has worked his way into the team and done well and he's stayed in the team. That goal would have given him a lot of confidence moving forward.

"He's a really good lad, Tom, he's a quiet lad but works his socks off in training. He came back in pre-season one of the fittest, he's at the front of the running every day.

"He deserves his chance in the team and has taken it with both hands."

Bloxham initially broke on to the scene shortly after Town resumed action following the outbreak of the pandemic. After joining the club from park football in his native Leicester, he made his senior debut aged 16 as a late substitute in the EFL Trophy.

Midfielder Vela, who has been a regular in the side this term, added: "When you're young you don't mind playing anywhere. He can take people on on the wing and he's a good outlet for us if Marko (Marosi) wants to kick long, he can win flick-ons in the air.

"When you come into the team you're fearless, you don't really know much about the team but you get on with it. He goes out there and will run through a brick wall."

"I don't know, I've said a few times, if you look at the big teams down the bottom of the table, big teams that would expect to be at the top, down with us at the moment.

"Look at those three or four teams, do you think they would want to be there? And do you think they'll stay there? Nobody knows the answer to that.

"You can start the season in top form and be great, but all of a sudden then you nose-dive and it's hard to stop it.

"We haven't nose-dived, our performances have been consistent along the way. I know you can our results have been too, but there isn't a lot in that that needs to change.

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