Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray described 17-year-old winger Tom Marriott’s first team debut as ‘outstanding’ as he helped Stags to a 1-0 win in the Checkatrade Trophy at Port Vale last night.
The former Derby County youngster played a pre-season friendly at Carlton Town but last night made the step up to face League One opposition – and never looked out of place
“I don’t think he could have done much more to be honest,” smiled Murray.
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“People don’t want to listen to my reasons, but I’ve had the job coming up to two years and I think the infrastructure me and other people have brought in and put in place – that (Marriott’s debut) was just a little product of what’s to come.
“People see us winning youth team game after youth team game and think they should all be playing in League Two. The gap is huge and we have to do it patiently. The reserves this season will help bridge that gap.
“But I thought Tom’s performance today was outstanding. He got in some great positions and is technically very good. His fitness was good, his tempo to match the League One team’s tempo was good.”
Murray added: “When I first got the job we had Tom involved with us pre-season.
“He’s very clever, had a good upbringing and has good pace.
“We’ve just been waiting on his physical development and that’s come on leaps and bounds. He is never going to be 7ft high and six foot wide. But his footballing intelligence makes up for that.
“He has been doing really well and his attitude is spot on. After being in the first team at 16 he dropped back a little bit to come again and we are really chuffed with him. He’s only 17 so for him to make his debut I am excited.”