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York City defender Tom Allan delighted at debut opportunity
TEENAGE defender Tom Allan has admitted he was “shocked” to be handed his York City debut during Saturday’s 4-1 home victory over Bristol Rovers.
Allan, 18, had only signed professional terms nine days earlier while still in the second year of his scholarship at Bootham Crescent.
But, when Chris Doig signalled to the bench that he was suffering some pain to his ankle 57 minutes into the Rovers’ clash, City boss Gary Mills threw on Allan even though more-experienced centre-back David McGurk was also among the substitutes.
On his unexpected outing, Allan said: “I didn’t think my debut would come this season. I thought I would just be sitting on the bench or training with the first team.
“It was quite a shock to me actually. I was surprised because I thought David McGurk was going to go on but the gaffer told me to get ready and start warming up.
“He just told me to do what I can do – pass and defend and to make sure I helped the team see the game out.
“It was a special moment and a good feeling with all the fans clapping.
“It was good to get a clean sheet on my debut as well (City were leading 4-1 when Allan was brought on). I’ve been at the club nine years since I was nine.
“I’m a York City fan and it’s good to make my debut at last having come through the centres of excellence.”
Having watched the team storm into an impressive first-half lead, Allan, added that his job was made easier when he entered the action by what had gone on before, saying: “The team played really well for the first half-hour so, when I came on, they were getting tired because we had passed the ball around so well.”
After the match, Mills revealed that he would have no qualms about starting Allan in this weekend’s home match against League Two leaders Gillingham if necessary.
The 6ft 4in defender would also welcome that chance.
“I would take that in my stride,” he added. “I wouldn’t mind it.”
On his targets for the rest of the season, the former Yearsley Grove and Huntington Secondary School pupil said: “I’m hoping to stay involved probably on the bench but, if an opportunity comes, I will just try and step in and do my best for the team and help them stay in the League or, even better, help them get promoted.”
With Mills having also given Allan’s former under-18 team-mates Reece Kelly and Rob Moncur senior squad numbers, City’s newest debutant believes there are others in the youth ranks that can emulate him and make the step up to Football League level.
Allan said: “There are some good second years who have got to push on in the youth league now and show what they are made of and see if they can do what I’ve done.”