Ryan Haynes fulfilled a lifetime ambition last Saturday when he made his Coventry City debut in the club’s 1-1 draw with Brentford.
The 17-year-old full-back who is still in the first year of his apprenticeship first joined the Sky Blues as an 8-year-old.
The young defender caught Manager Steven Pressley’s eye with his mature performances in the U21 side and with Jordan Stewart suspended the Scot had no qualms about throwing the left-back in at the deep end.
“That’s why we have a youth Academy and develop our own players,” said Pressley. “We should never be frightened to play them because if we think they’re ready, you must trust them.” he added.
Haynes who was joined in the line-up by fellow academy product Callum Wilson – also getting his first start for City, paid tribute to the club’s academy staff for helping him to fulfil a dream.
“I have looked forward to this moment since I was young so it will be something I will never live down,” said Haynes. “Over the years, Greg (Gregor Rioch, Academy Manager) has helped me a lot and helped me all the way.”
“I have put in a lot of hard work myself but I have to thank everyone down the Academy for their support.”
“I would like to stay involved but Blair Adams is coming back from injury and Jordan Stewart back from suspension as well, so there are two left-backs ahead of me, so if I don’t play again this season I’ll know why.”
“But it has really given me a taste to be involved and hopefully I can come back in the summer and do well in pre-season.”
The defender completed the full 90 minutes on his senior bow and skipper Lee Bell believes that he’ll benefit from the experience despite a nervy start to the match.
“It was a massive game for the lad and I thought he did really well,” Bell told the Coventry Telegraph. “I felt a little bit sorry for him when he threw up after about ten minutes because we’ve all been there and it’s difficult coming in, especially at home and at a stadium like that.”
“He was probably thinking about the game ever since he found out he was playing but once he relaxed and settled into it I didn’t think he looked out of place at all.”
“It’s really good for the future because it’s important that we have got young lads coming through. We’ve already seen lads like Cyrus Christie, Jordan Clarke and Callum Wilson come through so it shows we’ve got a really good Academy with Greg Rioch who has got quality players coming through, and that’s going to be important in the future.”
“I’m made up for Ryan because that will do him the world of good because once the first one’s out of the way you can relax and enjoy the rest of them.”