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Delight for teen ?record-breaker Bennett in five-star Rams win

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 07, 2013

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MASON Bennett was delighted after becoming Derby County’s youngest-ever goalscorer in the FA Cup third round victory over Tranmere Rovers at the weekend.

The teenager beat Lee Holmes’ record with his first goal for the Rams at the age of 16 years and 176 days.

It finished off the 5-0 rout of Rovers at Pride Park following goals from Ben Davies, Conor Sammon, John Brayford and Jeff Hendrick and earned Derby a fourth-round clash with Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers.

“I’m really happy and just can’t wait to see my family and speak to them,” said the teenage sensation.

“It’s nice to get the chance — the gaffer’s put me out there and I’m very happy he’s put me out there.

“It’s great to have two records and hopefully I can get a few more!”

Bennett already holds the record as Derby’s youngest ever player at the age of 15 years and 99 days when he started against Middlesbrough last season.

This season has been stop-start with a hamstring problem, with the explosive striker having to bide his time.

“I haven’t had much of a chance this season, but today it’s finally come and I’ve finally scored — I’m happy about it,” he said.

“I thought I got it trapped in my feet and I was going to lose it, but I opened a bit of space and I thought I’ve just got to hit it.

“The keeper got a little touch (but it went in).

“I didn’t know what to do (for a celebration) — I was running around like crazy.

“Hopefully, I can get a few more chances coming off the bench.

“All I can do is work hard, do my best and hopefully the gaffer picks me.”

Rams boss Nigel Clough — who is seeing the fruits of his faith in the club’s academy — was over the moon with Bennett’s first goals.

“It’s a wonderful day for Mason and we’re delighted for him,” he said. “He’s coming along nicely in terms of his development and to get a goal is something very special for him.

“He should have scored really on his debut back at Middlesbrough last October, but to get a goal at any level will be a big thing for him.”

Bennett hit the post and bar against Boro at the Riverside, but feels he is coming into his own now he has finished school and is in full-time training.

“Everyone told me to forget about it (the Boro game) — I just kept my head up and worked hard,” he said.

“It’s definitely been good training full-time. We’ve been concentrating on my technical ability.

“It’s good to be in and around the boys every day, day-in, day-out.

“I’m fitter and my technique has improved massively.”

Bennett’s headline-grabbing goal will surely fuel transfer speculation days after Will Hughes was again linked with a big money move to the Premier League.

Manchester City are the latest club to be linked with the 17-year-old midfielder, with a £7 million bid said to be in the offing.

Clough, though, says no offer has yet been received for any of his players.

Back on the field, the Rams boss was more than happy with the performance on Saturday

“We deserved to win and although 5-0 was perhaps a bit harsh on Tranmere, we took our chances and that was nice to see,” he said.

“Tranmere are a good side and we had to work hard to actually take the lead.

“Although we got the first just before the break, it was the second and third goals in quick succession from Conor and John which really set us on our way.

“After playing so well in the Middlesbrough game on New Year’s Day we wanted to follow that up with another performance today, and we made it clear to the players just how important this game was for us.

“The effort from them all was superb. We’ve had pretty much the same team for the last four or five games and once again the players gave us everything they could.

“We managed to get a clean sheet as well, which is great for Adam Legzdins and the back four and they’ll be over the moon with that.

“We played some good stuff, kept probing and it was nice in the end to get our rewards and get through to the next round, which was our main target at kick-off.”

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