JOSH Bowler reflected on a bittersweet day – though was delighted nonetheless to make his QPR first-team debut at Norwich City.
Rangers were beaten comprehensively in their Sky Bet Championship campaign finale at Carrow Road, going down to a 4-0 defeat after goals from Wes Hoolahan (two), Alex Pritchard and Josh Murphy.
However, in spite of that, Sunday’s fixture saw the R’s field a 10th separate academy product for 2016/17, with young winger Josh following in the footsteps of Michael Doughty, Ebere Eze, Darnell Furlong, Reece Grego-Cox, Niko Hamalainen, Ossie Kakay, Ryan Manning, Michael Petrasso and Olamide Shodipo in representing the first team this season.
“It was a bittersweet day for me, really,” Bowler told The Loftcast – QPR’s official club podcast.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted at all, but it was great for me to make my debut, in the Championship. Making my senior debut is what I’ve been aiming for all my life.
“I got told that I would be on the bench on the morning of the game, so I prepared myself to come on.
“Then, in the second half, the gaffer (Ian Holloway) called me over and that’s when things really hit home. It was a great moment for me.
“We didn’t perform how we wanted to, but the 2,000 QPR fans who travelled were superb with me.
“As soon as I was named in the squad, people just said to me, ‘Do the things you’ve been doing for the Under-18s and 23s. And that’s what I tried to do – I tried to get on the ball and be positive.”
Bowler – who impressively featured for the Under-18s, 23s and first team during '16/17 – was only handed his first professional contract earlier in the year.
Now the 18-year-old has high hopes for the season ahead.
“Despite the result, it was a lovely way for me to finish the season, personally,” he said. “And I know the last one has just finished, but I can’t wait for next season to start.
“I want to kick on next season and be in the first team again. I want to produce performances that the fans and the club want to see.
“It’s been great to play for the 18s, 23s and first team all in one season. And looking at next year, I want to consolidate a place in the first team.
“I want to keep my performance level high to impress those around me.”