Darryl's delight at Blues debut
DARRYL Knights last night admitted he could barely believe going from tea boy to first-team debutant in just one weekend, writes Derek Davis.The 16-year-old Ipswich-born striker became the first Suffolk boy to make his Town debut since Titus Bramble when he went on for the final 10 minutes of the 2-0 defeat in Sunderland.
DARRYL Knights last night admitted he could barely believe going from tea boy to first-team debutant in just one weekend, writes Derek Davis.
The 16-year-old Ipswich-born striker became the first Suffolk boy to make his Town debut since Titus Bramble when he went on for the final 10 minutes of the 2-0 defeat in Sunderland.
The surprise introduction came after his first call into the senior squad and, in time honoured fashion, was treated as a skivvy on the long coach journey north on Saturday.
Knights revealed: "I was the tea boy on the coach going up but I soon got used to it and enjoyed the whole thing.
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"It was by far my best experience so far in football."
The former Chantry schoolboy admitted the nerves hit him just before going on at the Stadium of Light in front of 31,000 passionate fans.
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But his team-mates rallied round him, Aidan Collins giving him a little pat on the back as he listened to Joe Royle's last-minute instructions.
And even though the quick-footed player has represented England at various levels up to Under-17s, his Town debut had him quaking – on a scale of one-to-10 he described it as a 'nine'.
He added: "When I got the call to warm up I was shaking but once I got on the pitch I was alright.
"It was quality, the fans were so good to me, it was brilliant.
"I tried to get on the ball as much as I could and it went well for me. Now I have the taste, I definitely want more. Hopefully, I can keep improving and then I will get another chance."
While Knights admires Arsenal's Thierry Henry, the Ipswich-supporting Academy star models himself on players closer to home – Darren Bent, Darren Ambrose and Dean Bowditch.
Knights said: "Thierry Henry is brilliant but those three are the heroes for me. They are the ones I have looked up to since I first got here.
"I appreciate what they have come through and, perhaps, that is why."
Not the biggest player yet, Knights prefers playing up front but can play in midfield.
A little more than 24 hours after making his first team bow, Knights was back in the reserves as Town lost 1-0 to Fulham – a back-to-earth-experience he didn't mind one bit.
He said: "The reserves is my main thing and the first team is just a bonus at this stage.
"My ambition for this season is to get another first-team game."
Knights comes from good footballing stock, with dad Kelvin a well-known non-league player around East Anglia with Hadleigh.
He also had trials with Luton and his proud parents were in Sunderland for his big day.
No doubt they all celebrated with a nice cup of tea – made by Darryl, of course.