JAMES Golding reflected on a surreal seven days as he earned rave reviews on his full Oxford United debut.

The centre back showed his potential with a promising display against Doncaster Rovers and was only denied a late winner by a clearance off the line.

It came after the 17-year-old received the club’s young player of the year prize at last Sunday’s end of season awards, having helped Banbury United win Pitching In Southern League Premier Central.

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Golding was thrust into the line-up after Elliott Moore’s wife went into labour on Saturday morning, so only found out he was starting when he arrived at the Kassam Stadium.

“It’s definitely been a dream week, but it’s only the start so I want to work hard and continue to progress,” he said.

“I found out that I was going to play literally as I came to the stadium.

“I looked in the main changing room and there was my name.

“I was thinking ‘what’s going on?’

“I was nervous to think I was playing in front of these great fans.

“If I’d been told a week in advance I wouldn’t have been able to sleep.

“Just being able to relax really helped.”

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Golding could have scored for both teams, with the centre back grateful to Jack Stevens for tipping a miscued first-half clearance over the crossbar.

He said: “I have to thank Jack for bailing me out, because it could have gone anywhere and he made a great save.

“At the other end I got my toe to it and saw the ball go past the keeper, but they had a player on the line.”

With 13 minutes left, Golding was joined on the pitch by Gatlin O’Donkor, another 17-year-old who has come through United’s academy.

“I think it’s great for the academy,” he added.

“Gatlin’s someone I’ve grown up with, so when I saw him warming up and coming on I felt a sense of pride.”