Thrown in at the deep end of League One football, Niall Ennis is thriving in his new surroundings, on loan at Doncaster Rovers. The Wolverhampton lad progressed through the Wolves system and starred in the under-23s’ promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1 last season.
A regular under-23 goal scorer and captain at times, Ennis proved himself in youth football and stepped up his progression by joining Wolves team mate Cameron John on loan in South Yorkshire, where he has hit the ground running.
The striker has featured in Rovers’ first five games in all competitions, starting the last three, and on Saturday officially announced himself with a typically eye-catching first goal in red and white against Lincoln City.
Ennis is maturing every day as part of a Doncaster group unbeaten in their opening four League One matches but remains in constant contact with Rob Edwards and the Wolves family, who will be delighted with his loan spell so far.
On the transition
It’s been good transition into men’s football and I’ve enjoyed it so far, so hopefully it will continue. It’s a good bunch of lads and staff, which has made settling in really easy. We’ve had a lot of games but that’s what we’re here for. There’s nothing better than going straight into a game, we’re here to play football and that’s what we’re doing.
On his new teammates
There’s a good range of ages, senior and young players, but it’s a good vibe around the team and you need a good dressing room to help you on and off the pitch. We had a good dressing room with the under-23s last year and you could see how that helped. If you get along off the pitch, you’ll get extra percentages on the pitch and morale is good at the moment.
On his new manager
The first day when we met him, he said how we were coming here to play and that’s what you want to hear when you join a club, you don’t want to just make up numbers. He’s given us his trust, so we need to pay it back by putting in performances.
On the difference from under-23s
It’s real football, fighting for proper points, everything has a meaning. Sometimes, because you know it’s under-23s, you can be off it occasionally, whereas you’re fighting for your place in the team and always have to be on it, which really suits me. It’s physical, but we want to be play football here. I’ve come from a club where we want to play football and Doncaster are the same. You could go on loan to a place where they want to hoof it, but we want to play it on the ground.
On his first goal
It was good to get off the mark and I have confidence in myself, so hopefully it’s the first of many. The previous week I had a chance where I was running and I hesitated when it came to the shot so this time I thought ‘I’m a striker, I need to shoot’, so I went for it and luckily enough it went in.
On Cameron John
It’s definitely helped having someone I already know, but because it’s such a good group of lads, even if we were by ourselves, it would have been an easy transition. At the start, you can compare it to going back to school in a way, you don’t know who to talk to, so having some you already know, you’re not as nervy.
On the competition with places
In football you’re always going to have competition, so I don’t really get nervous about who I’m up against striker-wise. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you’re always going to be fighting for positions and it gets the best out of me. You don’t want to relax and know you have a place, that’s what makes teams competitive, because you know there are people on the bench waiting.
On keeping in Wolves contact
I’ve been speaking to Rob to keep in touch. They want to make sure you’re getting on well at your new club, they want to keep that relationship, not to make you feel like you’ve been chucked away and aren’t part of the Wolves family any more. I know, if I want to make that step at Wolves in the future, I need to prove I have the experience.
On growing away
I needed this to mature a bit, to go away from the place and get some real minutes. I’m picking up little techniques on how to use my body because I’m playing against more physical, seasoned defenders who’ve played for years, some in the Premier League. I’m learning technically, mentally and tactically, and that’s what you go on loan for.
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