Clough hails teenage debutant
Derby manager Nigel Clough has hailed the maturity of teenager Mason Bennett for his performance against Middlesbrough.
By Subhankar Mondal
Last Updated: 22/10/11 7:00pm
Derby Country manager Nigel Clough has hailed the maturity of teenager Mason Bennett for his performance against Middlesbrough in the Championship on Saturday afternoon.
The striker became the youngest ever first-team player for Derby when he started at the Riverside Stadium at the tender age of 15 years and 99 days, and hit the Boro crossbar during the game.
The Rams lost the game 2-0 but Clough was pleased with Bennett's display.
"He's not bad for a kid of 15 years and 99 days, is he?" he said. "It was a very mature debut.
"He got a little tired towards the end and gave the ball away a few times but to play at this level like that was very impressive.
"He is a very exciting prospect. He wasn't far away from a goal in the second half when he put it against the bar. He'll be thinking about that one for a while.
"He didn't find out he was playing until 2pm so he didn't have too much time to get nervous.
"He didn't travel up with the team because he felt under the weather but he drove up this morning to join us.
"He's done very well but we can't expect that in every game and he won't be involved every week. That's too much to expect.
"He'll be back training with the under-18s next week because it is half-term from school."
Meanwhile, Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray was glad to find his team pick up maximum points at home and move to two points behind leaders Southampton in second place.
"It was important we got a win today," he enthused. "We had to bounce back but also we had to start winning games at home.
"It has been very frustrating for us in recent weeks. And we made it hard work for ourselves.
"We played well, got the goals and looked comfortable for 70 minutes then shot ourselves in the foot, stayed deep and invited pressure.
"It was a tense final 20 minutes and I think Derby hit the woodwork four times and Jason Steele had to make a few very good saves.
"So it wasn't a great performance but we'll take the win. We played far better as a team against both Ipswich and Leicester but only got one point in those games but that's football."