Anyone who attended the game last Saturday, at home to Bury would’ve seen the introduction in the second half of 17 year old left back Noah Chesmain. Replacing the injured Shane Ferguson, it marked his first ever appearance in his professional career, with many wondering where this latest player had come from.
Now a second year scholar, Chesmain has come right the way through the academy setup, playing for the clubs youth teams from a young age. A left back now by trade, he is also capable of playing further up the pitch in a couple of different roles. He made his first outing for the senior side during the current pre-season campaign, being offered cameo roles in games against Bromley and AFC Wimbledon as a late substitute.
First impressions from the games I’ve seen him is we have an athletic player, who can get forward and is good on the ball, perhaps missing a bit of height which is useful in defence, he also has an eye for a shot when played further forward. I saw a couple of youth games last season, and he seemed a very good footballer, judging him already in senior games is difficult, but even in the ten minutes on Saturday he seemed a player not scared to hide away from a challenge. Perhaps now he has had a taste and is still young, a loan spell might be worthwhile for Chesmain, allowing him to adjust to senior football on a weekly basis.
Along with fellow youngsters Girling, Ndoji and Mulroney-Skinner, he managed to make an initial breakthrough last season into the clubs U21 development side, managed then by current first team manager Neil Harris. Chesmain managed to make a slight claim to fame with a great winner away to Premier League side Swansea City in an U21 league match last season. Working the ball onto his stronger left foot and having a go from 25 yards, leaving the keeper no chance as it flew into the top corner.
I mentioned it above, but it’s great to see the youngster get a chance in the side, and also play with no fear, coming into the game with the score 1-0 and the opposition applying pressure is never easy, especially for a debutant 17 year old. It indicates the faith Neil Harris has in the youngster, who was aware of the player during his time as U21 manager. This clearly highlights the benefit of Harris working within the club before taking on the role as the senior manager, allowing Harris to establish relationships with the players, and also allowing him to learn their game inside out.
For years, we haven’t had any players come through to the first team and leave an impression, however in this season alone we’ve seen O’Brien, Nelson, Onyedinma, Thompson, Pavey and now Chesmain all step up and have a chance to stake a claim in the side. We hear murmurings in the background that this is only the beginning, with players in the current setup representing England through the youth levels. And with the under 18 side also highlighting more players with big wins in the cup, it indicates a bright future with a chance almost guaranteed to a player if they show the level of commitment required by Neil Harris.