Luton chief Nathan Jones was delighted by the debut of U18 right back Jack James in the Checkatrade Trophy group stage clash with Tottenham Hotspur U21s last night.
The defender, who joined the club at U14 level, replaced James Justin for the second half and although seeing Town immediately fall 2-1 behind, was quickly involved at the other end, sending over a lovely cross for Josh McQuoid to equalise.
Jones said: “He showed real good energy up and down, put a great ball in for the goal and if he had a little bit more of a cooler head he could have created a couple more.
“But we like him, he’s done well in the games he’s played, U23 level and so on, and I thought he was excellent when he came on.”
James’s introduction was the 12th academy graduate that Jones has given their first team debut too since he took over in January 2016, as he followed a list that now reads Justin, Tyreeq Bakinson, Frankie Musonda, Kavan Cotter, Akin Famewo, Craig King, Connor Tomlinson, Alex Atkinson, Freddie Hinds, Arthur Read and Jack Snelus.
It was another carefully planned introduction for the teenager too as Jones continued: “We lined that up with him. I could have put Jack Stacey on the bench, or put Glen Rea on the bench and move people, but we’re very excited by him.
“We’re not getting carried away by anything, he’s been given an opportunity and taken it, so well done.”
The main beneficiary of Jones’s cross, McQuoid, praised his impact too, as he said: “JJ came on did really well on his debut,
“It was a great ball, he made some good runs and put some crosses in and thankfully I was on the end of one.
“The gaffer praised him after the game, he was confident and he didn’t shy away from the ball.
He’s done well in the games he’s played, U23 level and so on, and I thought he was excellent when he came on.Nathan Jones
“He made some good runs and put the cross in for my goal, so he’s got to take a lot of positives from that.”
Meanwhile, Luke Gambin added: “It was a brilliant, a nice goal to watch.
“I was running into the box as it happened and lovely to watch, so congrats to both of them as it was a good goal.”