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Niall's debut delight

28 November 2017

Niall Watson spoke of his whirlwind weekend that began with him singing The Beatles in the team hotel before making his first team league debut the following day.

Stanley lost 2-0 at Exeter, but it will be an afternoon that the teenager will never forget, after he replaced the injured Mekhi McLeod in the 77th minute.

Watson, 17, was delighted to make his senior bow and laughed when asked about his most daunting task of the weekend - facing the squad initiation on Friday evening!

"I was made up to make my league debut," he said. "It's something that I've worked hard for - it actually feels like a relief to have taken another step in my career.

"I didn't think that I was going to get on, then Mekhi picked up the injury and I got the call to go on, I went out there to do my best and I was just delighted, it's a day I'll never forget.

"It was a great experience to travel down with the first team and to be around all of the lads, getting a taste of what professional football is all about.

"I had to sing, I sang a little bit of Twist and Shout by The Beatles, it was horrible at the time but looking back it's something that I will always remember!"

Watson, who caught the attention of the Reds when playing Sunday League football, believes he is at the perfect club to progress his career.

"I grew up just playing Sunday League," said the Liverpool-born forward. "I was never one of those in the academies from a young age.

"I can definitely see a clear pathway here for lads like me to make that step into the first team, I didn't even think I would get a Scholarship to be honest and now I've made my league debut and I'm training and travelling with the first team. It shows where hard work can take you at this club."

Academy Manager Paul Lodge was thrilled for his young forward and hopes that Niall's youth teammates can take inspiration from his debut.

"I'm delighted for Niall," he added. "He deserves it, he's a hard worker, the leading goalscorer for the youth team and a really good athlete.

"We see a clear pathway for our young lads, it's taken a few years but, with Niall making his full league debut, and having Reagan [Ogle], Ross [Sykes] and Zehn [Mohammed] to have done so in the past 12 months is brilliant - the next aim is to have somebody establish themselves as a regular."


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