STEVE Kean believes Markus Olsson can strike fear through Championship defences this season after admitting his progress over the past eight months has been ‘impressive’.
The left-sided Swede arrived at Ewood Park as a free agent in January, having spent the previous three seasons at Halmstads BK, but struggled to make an immediate impact in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old has been a regular this campaign though, in the absence of twin brother Martin, and has proved a constant attacking threat from left back.
Olsson scored his first Rovers goal in the 3-3 draw at Leeds United last time out and, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bristol City, boss Kean has praised his recent development.
Kean said: “Markus Olsson was outstanding at Leeds. He scored a goal and created the second and has given us a real threat down the left this season.
“He came raw, he came naive, I don't think he knew what his best position was. We feel as though he can play wide left or left back and are impressed at how he learns.
“He takes on information very well and I think when you are coaching him every day you don't have to tell him the points over and over again.
“It sticks. It shows he is an intelligent player. I think full backs would be scared of him.”
Markus’s more established twin brother, Martin, will be pushing for a recall for the trip to Ashton Gate as he continues his recovery from groin surgery.
His return will be no formality, with Kean admitting he has been impressed with the partnership built up by Markus and Morten Gamst Pedersen on Rovers’ left side. “Right up that left hand side the combination between Martin and Morten was causing Leeds all sorts of problems,” said Kean.
“Markus has got the type of engine and Morten has got the technical ability where he can pick a pass out. I thought we did really well up that side and probably unlucky not to get another goal from there.”
Kean has also hailed Ruben Rochina’s ability to ‘win a game’ after his back heel earned Rovers a point against the run of play at Leeds.
Kean said: “He has got all the ability in the world and he has produced a goal out of nothing with his back heel. “I think even before that he has come on, got the ball at his feet, taken it on, had a few shots. He produced a good substitutes performance because he has given us a lift.”
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