'It's great to be back' says latest Torquay United signing Gabby

Gabby Rogers of Torquay United battles for the ball with Aaron Roberts of AFC Bournemouth U21s

Gabby Rogers of Torquay United battles for the ball with Aaron Roberts of AFC Bournemouth U21s during the pre-season friendly at Plainmoor on Tuesday. - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Torquay United have underlined the losses caused by previous closures of their youth academy by 're-signing' winger Gabby Rogers - six years after he was forced to leave the club to launch his career elsewhere.

Rogers, 20, was in the Gulls academy, along with fellow Torquay teenagers Callum Morton and Josh Key, when it was last shut in 2015.

Striker Morton moved on to Yeovil Town, West Bromwich Albion and now Fleetwood Town on loan, while winger Key joined Exeter City, who are believed to have turned down a bid of £1 million from Sunderland for him.

Boyhood Gulls fan Ollie Watkins was also forced to leave and has since earned Exeter almost £6 million from his moves to Brentford and Aston Villa, and others have taken a similar path away from Plainmoor.

United's academy is now up and running again, and three of their graduates - Olaf Koszela, Louie Slough and Scott Piper - are young pros at Plainmoor.

Rogers - the son of former Plymouth Argyle, Southampton and Reading winger Andy Rogers - attended Churston Ferrers Grammar School. He has played for Yeovil Town since 2016.

After seeing him score spectacular goals for Tiverton against Torquay and then for United against Chippenham Town on trial, Gulls manager Gary Johnson completed his signing just before Tuesday's 4-0 pre-season win over AFC Bournemouth Under-21s.

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"I was here from 11 for four or five years before they had to shut the academy down, so it's great to be back," said Rogers.

Johnson added: "Gabby impressed everybody, and he showed in the (Chippenham) game what he could do in training.

"He was here as a young lad but he's 20 now and needs regular games at a good level."

Rogers has become United's tenth summer signing, and other new arrivals Dan Holman (2), Ali Omar and Tom Lapslie scored the goals in a one-sided affair against Bournemouth's starlets  - match report at www.torbayweekly.co.uk.

Former Colchester United and Cheltenham Town striker Holman was scoring for the fifth time in three games.