Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer insists the future is bright for some of his side’s up and coming youngsters.
Macauley Wilson put in a man of the match display on his debut in Tuesday’s penalty shoot-out win over an Everton U21 side in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The 19-year-old defender and boyhoold Blackpool fan, who has been loaned to Bamber Bridge in the Evo-Stik League this season, looked assured as the Seasiders battled to a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.
Another teenager to impress was winger Bright Osayi-Samuel and Bowyer was more than satisfied with the duo’s performances.
The manager said: “Macauley and Bright were very good.
“Macauley has been out on loan, and the purpose of that was to toughen him up and get him ready for the next step. I thought he did all right and the same with Bright.
“There was a lot of speculation regarding Bright in the summer (suggesting he was a target for higher-level clubs) but he had a little dip in form, which is to be expected with a young player.
“He’s now knuckled down and we’ve told him he has to fight for his position. He’s done that well.”
Not only did Wilson put in an impressive performance at right-back, he also had the courage to step up and score one of the spot-kicks as Blackpool won the shoot-out 5-4 to qualify for the second round.
Bowyer said that fearless quality sums the player up. He added: “Macauley is that kind of character. When it came to people putting their hands up for taking penalties, he was one who wanted to do it.”
Another youngster to gain some much-needed game- time was goalkeeper Myles Boney – although it came in bizarre circumstances.
Bowyer opted to take off Sam Slocombe after only 10 minutes and replace him with the 18-year-old.
Bowyer began the game at Goodison Park with five of the 11 who had started Sunday’s FA Cup win over Kidderminster Harriers, as required by EFL Trophy rules.
But the Pool manager said that taking Slocombe off early was the only way he could give Boney some game-time.
Bowyer added: “With Dean Lyness out injured, we’ve only got one goalkeeper other than Sam at this moment in time and that’s Myles.
“We wanted to give Myles an opportunity to play but unfortunately we couldn’t (play him from the start) because of the ruling.”
Blackpool will find out next month’s opponents in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy when the draw is made at 10.30am today and covered live on Sky Sports.
As runners-up in their group, Pool will be away to one of the eight northern group winners.