Bright Enobakhare is a special talent.
It’s 20 years since Robbie Keane summersaulted into the spotlight and this is the first time since a genuine attacking star has been unearthed.
We’ve got to love him, protect him, accept his shortcomings, forgive missteps and just keep encouraging progress. It will come.
Last night was an at once uplifting and chastising experience for the 19 year old, leading the line exquisitely against high calibre opposition but falling at the last with hero status agonisingly within his grasp.
Had he taken the final and most glaring of all his chances in the dying seconds of normal time we’d be talking about a win to eclipse anything Paul Lambert’s team achieved in last season’s FA Cup.
As it is we’re left nursing the mother of all hard luck stories as our brave warriors achieved the impossible and shut out Pep’s unstoppable juggernaut for over two hours of absorbing football.
They threw the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the downstairs toilet and about £500 million of players at our second string and still couldn’t get through.
The excellent Will Norris only made two meaningful saves all night and one of those was a result of his own misplaced pass to Sergio Aguero, which says much about the efforts of the wall of old gold erected in front of our young goalkeeper.
Batth, Hause, Coady and Bennett (who more or less played at the back and rarely ventured above halfway) blocked everything and denied City any room inside the 18 yard box.
Price and N’diaye did an equally important job ahead of them, preventing the assembled masses from unloading in those pockets of space just outside the penalty area.
The one criticism of the first half was how cheaply possession was surrendered, but as the Etihad grew increasingly agitated Wolves began to acclimatise.
Costa, Marshall and the sensational Vinagre (who contained Sterling and manipulated the ball under pressure superbly) all marauded forward and were only a final ball away from kicking down the door.
Bright will take the flack for his hat trick of failures but Costa frittered away an equally presentable opening that he was unable to lift over the inspired Bravo in the City goal.
Our flying winger still looks well short of match sharpness but this was a step in the right direction. The minutes and the confidence garnered will hopefully be the launch pad for his season.
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His replacement down the right Connor Ronan, another player still months shy of his 20th birthday, belied his years with a performance of true maturity.
Yes there were a few misplaced passes when the out ball wasn’t always on but his overall contribution was huge. The awareness to know their left back’s legs had gone in extra time and continually run in behind shows his intelligence.
And intelligence is something that summed up this team performance along with grit, determination and a relentless desire to compete.
But those latter adjectives all suggest effort rather than ability and this monumental effort was as much about footballing capacity as any of those raw materials.
We should all have woken up buoyant this morning, safe in the knowledge we already have the depth and quality any team could ever need to compete in the Premier League let alone campaign to get into it.
We’re going places, make no mistake about it.