Young Hatters duo Tyreeq Bakinson and James Justin both fully merited their Football League debuts for the club at the weekend according to boss Nathan Jones.
The pair were introduced late on during Town’s 4-1 win over Exeter on Saturday, with Bakinson, 17, playing the final 15 minutes and impressing from the moment he took to the field.
Justin, 18, replaced Stephen O’Donnell with five minutes to go, while when the full time whistle went, Luton had three of their U18s side on the pitch, with Frankie Musonda also called upon.
Boss Jones felt they were all deserving of their first team opportunity too, as he said: “They’ve earned that. We’ve given four debuts this year, Zane’s (Banton) league debut and he earned it from the way he was in training.
“Frankie got it earlier than others and that was his third appearance and he’s earned it, we knew all about him.
“Then the other two have earned it, we don’t give them their debuts, they’ve earned it from the season they’ve had.
“We included them and if it had been 1-1 and I didn’t feel it was right, or 1-0, I wouldn’t have just given them a debut, they’ve had to earn that and I felt it was the right time in the game.
“Not because it was a cushion, because we felt we were tiring, lacking a bit of legs, so we brought Tyreeq in, then moved (Alex) Lawless because Pelly (Ruddock Mpanzu) was fading and he did superbly well.
“You’ve sometimes got to put the reins on (Stephen) O’Donnell because he wants to go, wants to go, so we thought shore up that (by bringing Justin on), so they were good changes and Frankie’s come on and looks part and parcel.
“We’re very pleased and that’s a credit to Paul Driver and the season they’ve had and let’s make no mistakes about it, they’ve earned their debuts, not been given them.”
“Let’s make no mistakes about it, they’ve earned their debuts, not been given them.”Nathan Jones
Jones has now urged his youngsters to come back strongly for next season and not rest on their laurels from making a senior debut, adding: “I hope they step up because they’ve made an impact and made little strides at the minutes.
“They can’t go away and get carried away and think well I’ve just made my debut for Luton, this is going to happen regularly.
“They have to earn that again and go away and come back and show a hunger and a desire, because I like working with young players because you can mould them, but they need experience around them as well.
“We’re excited to have them and hopefully we can kick them on to another level.”