Haydon Roberts was able to put the overall disappointment of going out of the EFL Cup to one side as he reflected on his “amazing” Brighton debut.
The defender made his full Seagulls debut on Wednesday night in the third-round tie against Aston Villa and he had a personal evening to remember as he played the full 90 minutes and managed to get himself of the scoresheet too.
The local-born 17-year-old headed home from a second-half corner to make it 2-1 at the time and even though Graham Potter’s side went on to lose 3-1, Roberts was on a high afterwards.
To cap it off he was named the Brighton man-of-the-match and the youngster admitted he had to pinch himself afterwards.
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He told the club’s website: “I didn’t think it was real, it’s what you dream of when you’re growing up. To do it for my hometown club as well was just amazing and makes it even better, although we didn’t go through it’s a night I’ll never forget.
“I didn’t get much sleep, I wanted to spend the time afterwards with my family – there were so many messages and I wanted to share it with them. I still can’t really get over it now, scoring on your debut with man of the match as well is fantastic.”
Roberts is a regular for Brighton’s Under-23s already even though he’s still a teenager and has made 15 appearances in the Premier League 2 so far this term as he continues to flourish in the academy set-up.
His performance against Villa will have elevated him in Potter’s thinking and he will hope for more first-team chances as the season progresses, although the FA Cup in the new year may be his next realistic chance to shine in the senior side.
Brighton resume their Premier League campaign on Saturday when they go to Chelsea.