Luke Armstrong chalked off a childhood dream on Saturday, after making his professional debut for Accrington Stanley.
He joined the League One outfit on Friday and was immediately handed his first start by manager John Coleman less than 24 hours later.
The 22-year-old has reaped the rewards from an impressive short-term loan spell at National League promotion chasing Gateshead, in which he bagged 11 goals in 19 appearances.
Middlesbrough recalled the former Blyth Spartans striker to send him out to play League football – a dream Armstrong has always hoped to achieve after growing up watching his Dad, Alun, do the very same thing.
The game against Bristol City was a typical tough introduction but one he thoroughly enjoyed.
“I really enjoyed it,” Armstrong said. “It was a tough test because we always knew that they were going to come for the draw. They dropped off and made it really hard for us, but I thought in the second half we absolutely battered them.
“I’ve grown up watching my dad play football, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do, so I’m over the moon to be able to get my first league minutes.
“All I’ve always wanted to do as a kid is play football and to make my league debut is an unbelievable feeling.
“I got a few chances, and I should have had two goals really. On another day I would have had them, but I’ve been taught growing up to work as hard as I can and that’s what I do when I’m out on the pitch.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first few days here, and I hope that it just gets even better from here.”
Armstrong has stressed the difference of Under-23s football compared to what he calls ‘real’ football – as well as the importance to send young players to Football League sides.
“U23s is a different kind of football,” he said. “It’s for tidy, technical players but you don’t get that realism of the physicality.
“It’s hard to explain, but it’s not ‘real’ football. There’s not people’s jobs on the line, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose just so long as you play well, but in league football it’s obviously about winning a game of football however you can.
“This is a big step up. There is a lot more talent on the ball, especially going forward, and the defenders are a lot more physical and a lot more athletic, so I have to be able to deal with that. The more I play the more I’m going to learn how to do that.”