Following a string of impressive substitute cameos, 17-year-old Alex Scott was granted his first Bristol City start by Nigel Pearson for Saturday’s clash with Brentford.
While it was another drab display, with City succumbing to defeat on their own turf for the ninth time in their past 10 Ashton Gate fixtures, it was a lively individual display from Scott, who told BBC Radio Bristol on Thursday that he was aiming to “make an impression.”
The midfielder, who has spent the majority of his teenage years flying to-and-from his native Guernsey, looked lively against seasoned Championship opponents in the form of Mathias Jensen and laterally Vitaly Janelt.
Here’s a full report on his display.
It was challenging to figure City’s formation at times this afternoon, with the visiting Bees amassing 74% of the possession.
Though for the bulk of the action, the hosts looked to be set up in a 4-2-3-1 shape, with Scott playing ahead of a Tyreeq Bakinson and Han-Noah Massnego pivot, flanked by Kasey Palmer and Nahki Wells.
This shape granted freedom to the Guernsey-born midfielder who was often the trailblazer for City attackers, spinning in possession and running at the visiting defence.
Regularly dropping deep in an attempt to dictate play on the scarce occasion that City found themselves with time and space in possession, Scott’s comfort on the ball was akin to that of a 30-year-old pro as opposed to a teenager looking to forge a career in the sport.
The Robins struggled offensively throughout, mustering up just three shots on target. However, this was not down to a lack of trying on Scott’s part, who amounted more touches for Pearson’s side than anyone else with 54.
With his low socks reminiscent of a certain Jack Grealish, the youngster won four fouls across the 90 minutes, also the most of anyone adorning City red.
One of these was earned courtesy of some silky step-overs before the crafty midfielder stepped up to bend the resulting free-kick straight into the hands of David Raya.
Indeed, Louis Britton’s late consolation was down to the precise delivery of Scott, with the latter’s clipped set-piece headed down by Nathan Baker, with the young forward applying the finishing touch at the back post.
Despite his slight frame, Scott was not afraid to throw his body about and commit to some crunching tackles.
Just three minutes into his first City start he clattered into opposite number Mathias Jensen, with the referee ordering for play to continue despite the visitors’ protests.
As fellow academy graduate Tommy Conway found himself caught in a hive assembled by the visiting Bees, the England Under-18 international came to his colleague’s aid, sliding in to regain possession for the Robins.
He also chipped in with a smart interception, and found himself on the receiving end of an elbow from the record-breaking Ivan Toney such was the youngster’s persistence.
Scott certainly added some much-needed energy to City’s midfield engine room, harrying and unsettling his opponents at every opportunity.
One incident that Pearson will not reflect fondly upon came 59 minutes in.
City were penned in and the ball fell to Scott on the edge of the penalty area. Attempting an audacious Cruyff turn, he fell into the trap set out by the dangerous Toney, who intercepted though could only find the side netting when through on Bentley’s goal.
Aside from the aforementioned incidents, a teasing first-half free-kick just evaded everyone else in City red, gliding into the grateful hands of Raya.
Some excellent hold-up play won the set-piece which led to the Britton goal.
He certainly managed to make his impression.
What Pearson said
The manager was certainly complimentary of Scott’s display post-match.
“17-years-old, wow. Well done to him,” Pearson exclaimed.
“Another player that wouldn’t have had any exposure to the first-team usually. It was only back in February I think that he signed a first-team contract with us. Playing men’s football in Guernsey before he was with us, what a journey he’s had.
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“You can tell he’s played men’s football. That’s one thing to look at. A very confident boy, a very good technician.
“Now it’s very important to not build unrealistic expectations. It’s a great experience for him, I’m very pleased he made his full debut today. There are positive things, we have a number of young players with a bright future.
“We need to manage their exposure in a more controlled way, we’ll do that if we have a better foundation, a more efficient, competitive first team.”