A bittersweet day for Josh Bowler

Nick Skoric

By Nick Skoric

It has been a crazy old three months for Josh Bowler.

He became the tenth talent from the QPR academy to play for the first team this season when he made his senior debut against Norwich last weekend in the 4-0 defeat.

The 18-year-old winger signed his first professional contract back in February after impressing with the U18 and U23 Rangers squads since joining the club in 2013.

“It was a bittersweet day for me, really. We didn’t get the result we wanted at all, but it was great for me to make my debut, in the Championship. Making my senior debut is what I’ve been aiming for all my life," said Bowler.

“I got told that I would be on the bench on the morning of the game, so I prepared myself to come on.

“Then, in the second half, the gaffer (Ian Holloway) called me over and that’s when things really hit home. It was a great moment for me.

“We didn’t perform how we wanted to, but the 2,000 QPR fans who travelled were superb with me.

“As soon as I was named in the squad, people just said to me, ‘Do the things you’ve been doing for the Under-18s and 23s. And that’s what I tried to do – I tried to get on the ball and be positive.”

Bowler joined fellow academy starlets Michael Doughty, Ebere Eze, Darnell Furlong, Reece Grego-Cox, Niko Hamalainen, Ossie Kakay, Ryan Manning, Michael Petrasso and Olamide Shodipo to represent the first team at Loftus Road in the 2016-17 campaign.

The west London club have been aiming to bleed more youngsters into their team from the academy for many years and the youngsters are now getting more game time but it is still not enough. 

“Despite the result, it was a lovely way for me to finish the season, personally and I know the last one has just finished, but I can’t wait for next season to start,” added Bowler.

“I want to kick on next season and be in the first team again. I want to produce performances that the fans and the club want to see.

“It’s been great to play for the 18s, 23s and first team all in one season. And looking at next year, I want to consolidate a place in the first team. 

“I want to keep my performance level high to impress those around me.”

The loss to Norwich means the Hoops ended the season with seven defeats in the last eight games.

Everyone involved with QPR must be happy to see the back of the painful 2016-17 season except Josh.

Don't worry son, it won't be long until pre-season is already upon us again.

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