Highly skilful and creative winger Dilan Markanday left Spurs just over one year ago. A very highly rated young Academy prospect, Dilan left Spurs not that long after making his sole first team appearance for them, in a UEFA Europa Conference League group-stage fixture with Vitesse Arnhem. He left to join Championship side Blackburn Rovers, on a three and a half year contract. For someone who has watched Dilan progress through the Academy ranks at Spurs during recent years, I was very sad to see Dilan leave Spurs, a club that obviously means a lot to the Barnet born professional footballer, and it is a club that he has supported for many years. The youngest of all his age group, since joining Spurs as a first year scholar in the summer of 2017, Dilan featured a lot for the Spurs Under 18 side in 2017/18, came on really well under the tutelage of then head-coach Matt Wells, the following season, before spending a number of seasons with the then Spurs Under 23 side. Always improving his game, Dilan bulked up physically, becoming stronger with and without the ball, around the time of the 2020/21 season. And towards the end of that season and going into the following 2021/22 season, he was unplayable for the Spurs Under 23 side, and he was without doubt their most important player, up until leaving the club.
The now 21 year old’s move to Blackburn Rovers would probably have surprised quite a few people, in particular Spurs supporters. With his pace (he has got quicker and quicker over the years), outstanding dribbling ability, agility and creative ability on the ball, as well as a real understanding of the game, Markanday’s talents would long have attracted the interest off of other top clubs. His decision to join Blackburn Rovers however, cannot have been an easy one for the former Spurs man. Soon after joining them, Dilan made his competitive debut for Blackburn, as a substitute in a Championship fixture with Hull City. In that game he picked up a serious hamstring injury which kept him out for most of the second half of the 2021/22 season. He returned for former manager Tony Mowbray’s side in the final game of that season, in a league fixture against Birmingham City. It would have obviously been a long journey to recovery and full match sharpness for Dilan, and after featuring for the Blackburn Rovers first team again, quite a lot last pre-season, Dilan has had to be patient for his chances with the first team.
From four Carabao Cup appearances for the Lancashire club this season, Dilan has scored two goals for the first team, making a really positive impression in those games, as well as a real desire to work hard for the team. In addition to his appearances in that competition, he has made one appearance for Blackburn in the FA Cup, in a 1-0 third round win away to Norwich City. And he played his own important part in the build-up to forward Jack Vale’s goal in that game. One appearance in the Championship this season, as a substitute in a fixture with Rotherham, which Blackburn disappointing lost 4-0, saw Dilan come away from that game receiving praise from fans for his performance. The former Spurs player has also featured for the Blackburn Rovers Under 21 side, and has unsurprisingly excelled for them at that level. Getting injured at such an important and early stage in his time at his new club, must have been very difficult. But from the games that he has played for the Blackburn first team this season, he has shown that wonderful determination, and desire to always be positive and creative on the ball, as well as working so hard off it.
A player who I very much believe can not only play at the highest level, but also excel at the highest level in the future. Dilan Markanday is a real prospect in the game, and having followed Blackburn’s games very closely this season, I reckon that as they look to earn a play-off spot during the second part of the season, that Dilan will play, hopefully a big and prominent part in helping Blackburn in their quest to achieve that goal. Dilan is more than capable of making a real difference on the pitch, during a long second half of the footballing season, in England’s second tier.