MICHAEL Appleton has tipped Canice Carroll to have a bright future despite a tough baptism of fire on his full Oxford United debut.
The 18-year-old conceded a penalty just five minutes into his first start, which led to Fleetwood taking the lead.
However, Carroll did not let the early setback affect him and grew into the game.
Head coach Appleton, who said last month he would give the teenager playing time before the end of the season, is backing the youngster to build on his performance.
“I think Canice will learn from that,” said Appleton.
“Although I expect our midfield players to be a little bit closer to help him out and not leave him isolated.
“In the second half, I thought the kid did really well and he’s got a bright future.”
Carroll, who has established himself in Republic of Ireland’s Under 19 squad, had made three substitute appearances, all in cup competitions, before this week.
And teammate Josh Ruffels, who has played 120 times since his U’s debut in 2013, is willing to help the teenager develop.
The 23-year-old said: “I’m really pleased for him.
“Hopefully there will be many more appearances and I’m always here for advice.”