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Jack Sparkes praised for his debut performance

Manager pleased with 16-year-old's impact as a substitute against Swindon Town

14 August 2017

Exeter City youngster Jack Sparkes received praise from his manager following his debut performance against Swindon Town on Saturday.

Jack, who came on as a second-half substitute, almost won the game for the Grecians in the closing stages as he rattled a long-range shot against the post.

“It was a brilliant bit of play from Jack Sparkes,” said Tis. “His shot had the right type of rhythm and trajectory to score. Often you see a good shot hit, clean, but you know it’s not going to go in because the trajectory is favouring the goalkeeper, but that shot had the timing and the rhythm, but unfortunately it hit the post. It was a wonderful effort.”

Jack is only 16, but he is not the first player to have been given a chance by Tis in the first team despite being at a relatively young age. Ethan Ampadu was given his debut at 15 last season and there are a host of other players – like Matt Grimes, Tom Nichols and Jordan Moore-Taylor – who have all made debuts as teenagers at the club.

Asked what made him decide Jack was ready for his debut, Tis said: “I don’t put it down to how much bottle the young players have, or how much they want it, all our boys want to do really well and they’ve all got a certain level of aggression and determination, but it’s how you apply that in a match situation.

“It’s about how clearly you think, and the decisions you make. Jack is a really good young prospect, he’s only 16, but the reason he has been elevated and accelerated into the first team is because, physically, he can cope.

“We’ve seen a positive mental attitude over the last couple of months and we believe him to be capable of coping with the situation also and that’s part of it, not just the technical and physical aspect.

“I wouldn’t say it’s bottle, but it’s the ability to cope with the stress and the pressure in the appropriate way, he’s shown that. He’s only played 15 or 20 minutes today so he’s got a long way to go yet, but a lovely start and another one through the academy.” 

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