Teenager Owen James could not be blamed for pinching himself when he made his Oxford United debut – in front of more than 27,000 people.
The 17-year-old enjoyed the final seven minutes of the 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday when he replaced the more experienced Jon Obika.
The forward, who signed a professional contract earlier this season, had time to try his luck and fired over the bar.
Delighted to make his debut, James’s dad was at the game, although his mum was away and missed his debut but even that failed to dampen his spirits.
He said: “It was absolutely amazing to get some minutes and I just want to say thank you to the people who have helped me through.
“Being around the first team has been amazing, they’ve really helped me come into it. The stadium’s amazing and the fans and atmosphere was as well. It was a really good [place to make your debut].
“[Manager Karl Robinson] told me to run around and enjoy it – and I definitely did.”
He added: “I’m going to work hard in pre-season, come back bigger and stronger and do it again.”
James was one of five to sign pro deals at the U’s in March. Fellow youngster Albie Hopkins was also on the bench. The club is in the process of establishing a full Under-23 development squad to bridge the gap between youth team football and the senior side.