Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury's Tom Bloxham is learning on the job

Manager Steve Cotterill says Tom Bloxham has great natural ability – with the forward now working hard to improve out of possession.

Last updated

The Town youngster got his first start of the League One season a few weeks ago against Peterborough.

He has often been used as an impact substitute for Town at times having a positive effect on games and Cotterill says improving out of possession is the next stage of Bloxham's development.

"What he does with a ball is natural, he has great natural ability, out of possession he does not do as well as he does when he is in possession," the boss said.

“I just think it is a maturing time with Tom.

“You need to show him a lot, and you need to keep repeating things and keep showing him.

“And also when the team is in possession he has got to understand other people’s roles a little bit because he needs to integrate with their roles, i.e. movements off the ball. Repetition I would say (will help him get better), sometimes younger players pick it up quicker than others.”

His start in the game against Peterborough coincided with Town’s shift away from their usual back three with wing-backs.

Bloxham operated on the left side of a midfield with Rekeil Pyke playing on the right and Tom Bayliss in the number 10 role, and Cotterill felt that was the game for him.

He said: “We changed formation that day, and sometimes it is who you are pairing them up against, who can they potentially get the better and where might the inches be in that game.

“So I looked at that and I thought this maybe is the game for him, no more than that really. We go into a lot of detail and do a lot of work on the opposition and you hope that the work you go into on the training ground and the detail that you put into it reaps benefits come 10 past five on a Saturday night, really.

“It is funny because in his younger days, he started off as a left winger. And then he has played on the right for us, he has played down the middle in a two and on a couple of substitute appearances he has gone on up top by himself.”