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Archived News from February 2019

8th February 2019 10:42

Stags capture young midfielder
mansfieldtown.net, Mon 04 Feb 2019

We are delighted to announce the signing of midfielder Willem Tomlinson on an 18-month deal.

Tomlinson, 21, progressed through the youth ranks at Blackburn Rovers, and is a graduate of the club’s academy.

The midfielder made his Rovers’ debut in February 2017 in an Emirates FA Cup fifth round tie against Manchester United.


Tomlinson made his league debut a week after the clash against the Red Devils, against Derby County in the Championship.

He has appeared in both the Championship and League One for Blackburn.

“I’m delighted to be here,” said Tomlinson. “I got the call this morning and I just couldn’t turn it down.

“I had a chat with the gaffer [David Flitcroft] this morning and he told me how we want to win here and that he wants to develop players.

“I want to earn promotion this season, and we’re in a good position to get promoted. I want to be a big help until the end of the season to secure it.”


Tomlinson told iFollow Stags: "“I got the call this morning ... I was on my way to sign somewhere else actually ...and I just couldn’t turn it down, it was such a good move for me."


'Manager sold club to me' - new midfielder

New midfielder Willem Tomlinson says that manager David Flitcroft’s willingness to win and develop young players are the main reasons he opted to sign for the Stags.

We announced yesterday that the 21-year-old has signed for Mansfield on an 18-month deal.

The former Blackburn midfielder expressed his ‘delight’ to join the amber and blue, and says his immediate aim is to be a part of this season’s promotion push.

“I’m delighted to be here,” said Tomlinson. “I got the call this morning and I just couldn’t turn it down. It’s such a good move for me.


“I had a chat with the gaffer and he sold it to me. He told me that we just want to win here, and that he wants to develop players.

“I fully believed everything that he had to say and I can’t wait to get started.

“First and foremost I want to be getting promotion this season. We’re in a good position to get promoted and I want to be a big help until the end of the season to secure it.”

Tomlinson spent the first half of the season at Blackburn, after graduating from the club’s academy in 2015. The midfielder says his time with Rovers taught him how to win.

“I learned a lot [at Blackburn] - when I signed we were in the Premier League. We were sturdy in the Championship and that’s when I started coming through.

“I came through the season we got relegated, making my debut against [Manchester] United [in the FA Cup].

“We went into League One but came straight back up, and I was in and around that squad all season.

“I saw what it was like to win. The lads wanted to win every day. I saw what it was like to get promotion and I was lucky to be involved in it.

“It’s been a frustrating season so far. I’ve not really been involved in the [Blackburn] first team and made just one appearance.

“Since October I’ve been wanting to get out to go and showcase what I can do at another club.”

Tomlinson also touched on the qualities he will bring to Mansfield.

“I’m about hard work. I can give a tackle, can play forward, and I just love to get on the ball and move forward.

“I’m going to work hard and give it everything I have every week when they [supporters] come and watch. Hopefully I won’t disappoint.”

iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the midfielder’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow.


David Flitcroft finally gets his man as Willem Tomlinson joins Mansfield Town
chad.co.uk,by JOHN LOMAS, Tuesday 05 February 2019

Mansfield Town boss David Flitcroft said new signing Willem Tomlinson was an all-round midfielder he has kept an eye on since he was manager at Swindon Town.

Stags stole the 21-year-old from under the noses of League Two promotion rivals Exeter City last night, where he had been training and agreed a deal, to give him an 18-month contract.

A delighted Flitcroft said: “Sometimes we pigeon-hole midfielders - he’s a number four or a number 10. But Willem is an all-round combative midfield player.

Read more at: https://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town/david-flitcroft-finally-gets-his-man-as-willem-tomlinson-joins-mansfield-town-1-9577650

“He is all-action and someone I was watching quite closely with my northern connections from when I was at Swindon. He broke into the first team and played games in the Championship and League One.

“When he became available it was an opportunity to get him and give him an 18-month deal. “I am looking forward to working with him. I think he is a good signing for us.

“It is certainly an area in which we need a lot of cover. We can rotate in there with different formulas and formations we can look at.

“He is a player for now and for medium term as well.”

Flitcroft said he now felt the midfield department could cope with all eventualities with the arrival of Tomlinson. “I looked at the squad numbers before the window,” he said.

“We lost Butch (Calum Butcher), Dave Mirfin, Omari (Sterling-James) and Timi Elsnik. It was matter of looking carefully and making sure we had cover.

“I have Bish (Neal Bishop) on nine bookings which has concerned me for a few weeks. His loss in the second half at Carlisle really worried me.

“Macca’s (Alex MacDonald) probably still three weeks away. So we are making sure we’ve got the numbers right, which I think we have now.”


Exeter City's Matt Taylor on missing out on Willem Tomlinson to Mansfield Town
By Stuart James, 7 FEB 2019

Exeter City manager Matt Taylor admitted the Grecians were 'very close' to signing former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Willem Tomlinson.

The 21-year-old was released by the Championship club at the end of January and was on the verge of signing for the Grecians before performing a U-turn and joining City's League Two promotion rivals Mansfield Town instead.

Taylor had been impressed with Tomlinson after he spent time training in Devon towards the end of 2018 and he looked all set to sign for City before having his head turned by the Stags.

"We were close... very close," Taylor said. "So close that he was down here in Devon and due to sign on Monday morning, but he got a better offer from Mansfield and it was something we couldn’t match.

"I can’t fault the player for doing that, he has to look after himself and if you get offered a longer contract on more money, then you’d be stupid to turn it down.

"He’s a player that came and trained with us back in November, so we had a bit of an idea as to what to expect.

"We didn’t know he’d become available and we literally found out at the end of January, so he is one that we felt would be a good fit for the remainder of the season, but we missed out and it is very much onto the next.

"I don’t hold anything against the player. I have been a player myself and generally, you sign for the longer contract on more money.

"He’s making his way in the game. He has his career to think about and I can’t fault that."


Willem Tomlinson @WillemWillem8
Delighted to join @mansfieldtownfc and can’t wait to get going in the push for promotion #stags

Carolyn Radford @CarolynRadford
Thank you, we’re so happy to have you on board Willem!

Carolyn Radford @CarolynRadford
I don’t think so... #fakenews Huge welcome to Mansfield Town Willem Tomlinson! @mansfieldtownfc @Rovers #efl #TransferNews

replying to

Pete O'Rourke @SportsPeteO
Former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Willem Tomlinson is set to join Exeter on a free transfer. #Rovers #ECFC #grecians

Exeter to sign former Rovers midfielder Tomlinson
by Pete O'Rourke @sportspeteo


HITC Sport understands former Blackburn midfielder Willem Tomlinson is set to join Exeter.

Exeter City are set to sign midfielder Willem Tomlinson on a free transfer following his release by Blackburn Rovers, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.

Blackburn Rovers handed Tomlinson a free transfer last month after finding himself down the pecking order at Ewood Park.

Tomlinson, who has come through the ranks at Blackburn, was due to be out of contract in the summer but the Championship club were willing to let him move on early to further his career elsewhere after failing to break into the first-team this season.

The 20-year-old made seven appearances in all competitions for Blackburn last season, but his only outing this term has been a late cameo in the EFL Cup against Lincoln in August.

A host of League One and League Two clubs expressed an interest in signing Tomlinson on a free transfer, but Exeter have moved quickly to agree a deal with the all-action midfielder.

Tomlinson, who made his Blackburn debut in an FA Cup tie with Manchester United in February 2017, is set to sign a short-term deal at Exeter.

Exeter are currently in seventh spot in League Two and Grecians boss Matty Taylor is keen to add Willemson to his squad to boost their promotion bid in the second half of the season.


Earlier story:

Willem Tomlinson ends 10 year associtation with Rovers
By Rich Sharpe, Blackburn Rovers Reporter @richsharpe89, 31st January

Blackburn Rovers have announced Willem Tomlinson has been released from his contract by mutual consent.

The 21-year-old saw his deal expire in the summer and this will allow him to find a new club outside of the transfer window.

Tomlinson had been expected to leave this month, and had been set for a move to League Two Exeter City who he had been training with.

The midfielder leaves the club having made 10 appearances in all competitions, the last of those being in the Carabao Cup win over Lincoln City in August.

Writing on social media, he said: “After an amazing 10 years at Rovers I am leaving the club.

“I would like to thank the club, staff and fans for all the support they have given me over the 10 years - I have learned a lot and together created some unforgettable memories.

“I am now looking forward to the next stage of my career and can’t wait to get going.”

Tomlinson made his Rovers debut in the FA Cup fifth round defeat to Manchester United in February 2017, before featuring in the Championship win over Derby under Tony Mowbray.

Although a regular for the Under-23s in their title winning campaign last term, he has featured just once since November for Damien Johnson’s side.


Willem Tomlinson set to leave Blackburn Rovers in January
By Rich Sharpe, Blackburn Rovers Reporter @richsharpe89, 22nd December 2018


Willem Tomlinson is expected to leave Rovers next month in a bid to ‘kickstart’ his career.

The 20-year-old has played just nine minutes of first team football for Rovers this season and the Lancashire Telegraph understands he has spent time training with League Two side Exeter.

League One sides have also showed interest in Tomlinson who has played 10 times for Rovers after making his senior debut in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United in February 2017.

With Tomlinson out of contract next summer, Rovers are set to allow him to seek pastures new when the transfer window re-opens.

Any deal is likely to include a sell-on clause should Tomlinson achieve the potential which has seen him be around the first team picture for the last two years.

But he has played just once for Rovers Under-23s in their last six matches, as he contemplates an exit, with his one first team outing coming as a substitute in the Carabao Cup win over Lincoln in August.

Tomlinson played seven times last season, including four times in League One.

When asked about Tomlinson, who turns 21 next month, Mowbray said: “There’s a fair chance Willem will be allowed to go and kickstart his career somewhere else. That’s not 100 per cent though.

“The best thing for Willem would be if he finds a new home, goes and plays football regularly.

“He’s at an age now where for me, he should be playing in a team.

“I feel at this moment that he can’t force his way in to our current set-up and the best thing at a certain age is to go and play, whatever the level is you find, just go and play.

“If you’re good enough then you will come back.

“If he starts in League One, or League Two, then he will find himself coveted before too long if he performs at the level he needs to by a Championship club.

“Let’s hope he can get himself to the Premier League one day.

“At this moment in his career it’s probably best he finds a new chapter in his career.”



Latest | February 2019