‘He had so much ability’ - Chelsea legend on unfortunate career of ex-Bristol Rovers loanee

Wolleaston had been with Rovers for only four matches and later returned to Chelsea

Former England captain John Terry has said that a former Bristol Rovers loanee didn’t live up match up to his potential he showed during his time at Chelsea.

Terry had a successful career with Chelsea, winning five league titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, as well as the Champions League and Europa League.

On the flip side there were a few that didn’t make the grade with the 41-year-old picking out a former Rovers player as someone who could have had a better career than they did.

Rob Wolleaston came through the Blues academy in the late 1990’s and made his debut for them in a League Cup match before later going on to make his one and only appearance in the Premier League.

In a bid to make him ready for first-team football at the West London club, he was sent out to Bristol Rovers in 2000.

His time in the West Country was short however, playing just four times under Ian Holloway where he failed to return either a goal or an assist.

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It was the same season in which the Gas missed out on a play-off spot, finishing seventh after suffering a defeat to Cardiff City on the final day, having never dropped out of the top six until the final match of the campaign.

He was asked on an Instagram Live in April 2020 about which was the best player to not make the grade during his time at Chelsea. Terry responded with: “Probably a boy called Rob Wolleaston at Chelsea. ‘He was like a midfielder-winger, had so much ability.’

Several loan spells after Rovers, at clubs like Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth and Northampton Town, the London-born midfielder returned to Stamford Bridge and was later released.

He played mainly in the non-league and the longest times he had spent at a club were with Cambridge United as well as Rushden and Diamonds, before winding down his career with Harrow Borough for three years in what was to be his last club.

Before being dumped by Chelsea, Terry recalls when Wolleaston was starting out and had been given an opportunity to play for the first-team but ended up

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“He was chosen to train with the first team at a really young age, 17 or 18, did really well and (Ruud) Gullit told him he was going to play in the first team in a cup game.

‘He then phoned up on the day of the game and said he was sick. ‘All of us, if we were sick or felt like we were at the end of the world, we would have still gone and played the game, we wouldn’t have given up that opportunity.

“He actually did it two or three times and he was just not mentally ready for the game, but ability-wise, incredible.’