As first days back at school go, this one will live long in the memory for Luke Matheson.
The 15-year-old made his debut for League One Rochdale in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Bury at Spotland on Tuesday, hours after returning from his first day at school following the summer holidays.
Not only did Matheson became Rochdale’s youngest player, aged 15 years 336 days, when he came on as a 13th-minute substitute, but the right-back was named man of the match.
He may not legally have been allowed to drink any champagne which may have come with the prize, but he did earn high praise from manager Keith Hill.
“Luke Matheson – wow,” Hill said on rochdaleafc.co.uk.
“He was outstanding. We know what he can do. It’s not a leap of faith, because we know what he can do.
“The supporters were receptive to Luke, and the players are and were as well.
“He’s been training with the first team whilst he’s not been at school during the summer and I’m really pleased for him that he got his chance. They’re special nights when that happens.”
Rochdale’s previous youngest player was Daniel Adshead, who made his debut aged 16 years 17 days against the same opponents in the same competition last year. Adshead signed his first professional contract on Tuesday afternoon and featured against Bury.
Rochdale’s website still has not listed Matheson’s date of birth, with the default date of January 1, 1901, shown, but he will be sure to be celebrating in four weeks’ time.