Ben Gladwin will play in the Premier League, insists his former non-league boss
PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 23:32 17 January 2016
Ben Gladwin has got everything in his locker to play at the highest level. That is the verdict of one of his former non-league bosses.
The last few years have been a whirlwind to say the least for the highly-rated midfielder. Released as a youngster by Reading, Gladwin went down the non-league route as he sought a way back into the professional game.
That dream didn’t look like becoming a reality though, especially after an unsuccessful loan spell with Burnham five years ago.
It was then that the youngster considering calling it a day and turning his back on the game.
That was until Mark Bartley took the utility man under his wing at Reading Town, instilling the belief in him that he could still become a professional.
Bartley told the Times: “From the first day I saw Ben play I knew he had something a bit different and unique about him to what we usually see at that level.
“He first came to me as an 18-year-old. His big issue then was that he fell out of love with the game – he was on the verge of quitting.
“I took him to Reading Town after his spell at Burnham and just told him to get to the end of the season and see if he had recaptured his love of the game – thankfully he had. As they say, the rest is history.
“I haven’t been surprised with Ben’s progress since then, he’s got a fantastic attitude and work ethic, he deserves every success he has achieved in the game to date.”
Even Gladwin himself can hardly believe the progression he has made. After an impressive two-year spell at Marlow FC, Swindon Town came calling for his services back in November 2013, and he didn’t disappoint, establishing himself as a firm fans’ favourite during his time at the County Ground.
Such was the impact he made that QPR secured his services, along with team-mate Massimo Luongo, from the League One side last summer for a combined fee of £3.5million.
While things haven’t panned out as Gladwin would have liked at Loftus Road to date, Bartley has backed him to be a big success in W12.
He added: “Ben can play at the highest level, he’s more than capable of playing in the Premier League. I’ve seen at close quarters what he brings to the table.
“He can take the opposition apart, he’s got a great range of passing and an excellent shot on him. He’s also a big, physical presence to defences.
“I was surprised to see Ben get loaned out so soon after joining QPR - I must say.
“I saw him a bit during pre-season, and he was really happy with how things were going and was excited about what the season ahead would bring.
“So that was a disappointment for him, but he went back to Swindon and rediscovered his confidence and talismanic role, as such.
“He really relishes being given that extra responsbility and freedom to make things happen and make a difference. I firmly believe he has a big part to play in QPR’s future plans - he’s a special talent.”