Comedian Jimmy Cricket has praised Luke Matheson after he became Rochdale AFC’s youngest player.
The 15-year-old made his debut for the League One side in Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy win over Bury at Spotland, hours after returning from his first day at school following the summer holidays.
Mr Cricket, a Catholic who lives in Rochdale, said Matheson is an inspiration for young people.
“This is a great story about schoolboy Luke making his debut for Rochdale AFC at such a tender age.” Mr Cricket told The Catholic Universe.
“Footballers are getting younger,” he added, joking: “The day isn’t too far off when the ref will blow his whistle because a player needs his nappy changing.
“My heartiest congratulations to Luke. He’s inspired every young person to follow their dream. He’s also proved the old adage ‘ If your good enough, your old enough’.”
Not only did Matheson became Rochdale’s youngest player, aged 15 years 336 days, when he came on as a 13th-minute substitute, but the right-back was named man of the match.
He may not legally have been allowed to drink any champagne which may have come with the prize, but, as well as Mr Cricket’s congratulations, he did earn high praise from manager Keith Hill.
“Luke Matheson – wow,” Hill said on rochdaleafc.co.uk.
“He was outstanding. We know what he can do. It’s not a leap of faith, because we know what he can do.
“The supporters were receptive to Luke, and the players are and were as well.
“He’s been training with the first team whilst he’s not been at school during the summer and I’m really pleased for him that he got his chance. They’re special nights when that happens.”
Rochdale’s previous youngest player was Daniel Adshead, who made his debut aged 16 years 17 days against the same opponents in the same competition last year. Adshead signed his first professional contract last week and featured against Bury.
Rochdale’s website has not yet listed Matheson’s date of birth, with the default date of 1st January 1, 1901, shown, but he will be sure to be celebrating in a few weeks’ time.
Picture: A general view of the Crown Oil Arena, also known as Spotland Stadium. (Clint Hughes/EMPICS Sport).