‘As a former colleague and a friend at the same time, before I actually became his manager, I’m absolutely made up for the lad, because he has been at The New Saints through the scholarship programme, we’ve worked with him for a long time, started him off as a winger and then brought him in at centre-forward and I think in such a short period he’s improved massively as a player.
‘You just look at the types of goals he’s scoring and the impact he’s having, that was highlighted in the European games against Europa FC – his exploits have been shown and shared thousands and thousands of times over Twitter – but we see that every day in training, his finishing is incredible.
‘He’s still got room for improvement, of course, I think he can be a bit more consistent than he is, but I wish him all the best at Blackpool and I think it is brilliant that someone is jumping straight from The JD WPL to EFL League One; it shows how far this league has come, and how high the standards are at the moment.’
There is no doubt as has been proven by the 24-year-old forward’s performances in recent years for the club – not to mention over this past summer in TNS’ UEFA Champions League adventure – that Quigley was set to have perhaps his best ever campaign in front of goal at Park Hall, as the powerful forward netted three goals in four European fixtures, including that incredible strike at home against Europa FC.
Once Blackpool had come in for him, however, Ruscoe admitted that as much as he wanted to hold onto the gifted striker, he felt the club did the right thing in letting him leave for Lancashire.
‘I said to him how much I want to keep him, how I think he could score 20-30 goals this season for us, but I’ve got to be realistic and when a EFL League One club comes in for him are we as a club or is he as a player able to really turn that down?
‘I think, really, he’s worth more than what they’ve paid for him in today’s market, certainly, but Blackpool have shown willing and put in a sell-on clause so if he does progress further then TNS will benefit from that, again, which is very important, but we had to let him go and give him the chance to succeed at that level.
‘Imagine if we hadn’t done that, it wouldn’t have been fair on the club or on the player, and I think we’ve done the right thing in letting him go.’
A strong relationship clearly existed between the two Quigley and Ruscoe, as the duo go back a long time as teammates, first, then as coach and player, as well as being friends away from the pitch.
Ruscoe will naturally be very disappointed to see such a quality player leave Park Hall, however he believes that Quigley’s departure and potential for success at Blackpool will only attract more fans and interested parties to watch The JD WPL in the future.
‘Before I took over in the management team, Scott and I were good friends. We live in the same area, and we have a similar friendship group so we were and still are good friends.
‘Obviously, upon becoming the manager that had to change somewhat, one of the first things I said to him was that he wouldn’t be getting any favours or special treatment from me, but I wish him all the best on his move as a friend and as a colleague.
‘People will look at The JD WPL now, look at teams like TNS, Bangor City, Connah’s Quay, Bala Town, and they’ll be thinking if Quigley can go there and have an impact – which he has the ability to do – then are there other players of his quality and ability in The JD WPL? It highlights the fact that there are players out there, and I think a lot more people will be taking notice of this league in the future now.’
Progressing through the ranks at the club, Quigley is a perfect example of how The New Saints’ pathway from academy to first team and – in Quigley’s case at least – beyond that, is working well and Ruscoe, who has done an awful lot of work in developing that pathway and focussing on the youth sides at the club, insists there are plenty more top talents set to come through in the near future.
‘If you look at this season, Ben Clarke is on a full-time contract with us as a 16-year-old – he’s going to be playing in our first team this season, he’ll have had a number of games before the end of the year as a starter or as a substitute. That’s just one lad that we’ll be putting in there who has come from our academy set-up, because we believe he has a bright future as do our other young players.
‘Everyone knows about Ryan Pryce, at 20 years old he’s already played in Europe and featured regularly for us, we’ve had him since 16 years old and it’s lads like him that we’re trying to push through and bed them into the first team, because we believe in them and their potential.
‘Andy Wycherley is out on loan at the moment getting some game time at Guilsfield, Jacob Farleigh is also getting some playing time, and these players will be the future of our football club.’
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