GARY Rowett thinks it is only a matter of time before the quality of young Matty Palmer gets him a run of starts in Burton Albion’s side.
The 18-year-old midfielder has been highly impressive coming off the bench for the Brewers so far this season.
His rapid progress in his first year as a professional has surprised most at the Pirelli Stadium - and Rowett says the club may have a player capable of playing at a high level with the right nurturing.
“At some point he’s going to be impossible not to pick,” said the manager. “We’ve got to have time for him to develop.
“We need to be patient and need to keep him in the team.
“He’s featured in most of the games so far.
“To develop he’s got to play and if we don’t give him time on the pitch he won’t do that.
“After Saturday I said at a club like Burton Albion there’s much more to it than trying to be successful (on the pitch).
“We have to look at other angles.
“If we can develop Matty in the right way he could well be a player who’s capable of playing much, much higher in the game.
“Good players with that potential don’t come along too often.”
Palmer is not the only bright spark pushing for first-team recognition, with Liam Slade and Marcus Harness also knocking on the door.
Slade, a big centre-half, has gone slightly under the radar because of Palmer’s rapid progress.
But Rowett says the 18-year-old will make an appearance at some point this season.
“I think he’s one that has gone unnoticed because of Matty and Marcus Harness getting the attention,” he said.
“It was our intention in the Portsmouth game, if it had turned out differently, to get him on the pitch.
“He’s another player who’s 6ft 3in, athletic, good on the ball and aggressive.
“The only thing he hasn’t got is experience and game knowledge the other centre-halves have got.
“If he keeps developing he’ll certainly play games this year.
“We might only have 15 or 16 senior-ish pros in there but you can add Matty Palmer, Marcus Harness and Liam Slade to that quite comfortably.”