MANAGER Paul Tisdale felt teenage midfielder Matt Grimes deserved his chance to start against AFC Wimbledon after catching the eye in Exeter City's pre-season campaign.
The 18-year-old former St Peter's High School student turned in a starring display on his professional debut alongside the more experienced Matt Oakley and played a key role as the Grecians won 2-0 with a brace from John O'Flynn.
"I made the decision overnight and Steve Perryman called his parents to tell them not to miss it and they kept it a secret," Tisdale said.
"He has played so well in pre-season and I was wondering what there was not to like, but he is doing very well.
"He is impressing me all the time and surprising me with things. I keep waiting for something to go wrong, but I haven't seen it yet.
"It is a very good start for him. It was a home game and a great place for him to start because we were on top, but I don't think we should expect him to carry our season for the next 43 games. I'm not saying he can't do that, but let's see how he goes."
Tisdale added: "We have to take it one step at a time, but his game is what we saw on Saturday.
"Some players are fantastic with the ball and that is what he is and when you have that already to start with, that is some talent.
"He looked like a player that had been playing for a long time with the way he moved the ball about, but he had the perfect player to play with in Matt Oakley, who was so assured, talking to him and giving him the ball at the right time."
Indeed, Oakley provided the experience alongside rookie Grimes and his return was a welcome boost for the Grecians, who went into the game beset by injuries.
In fact, so bad was the extent of Tisdale's injury list that training was cancelled in the early part of the week to give his players every chance of recovery in time for the match on Saturday.
"We had a very bad week going into the game in terms of not knowing what the team will be and injuries and fitness tests and who was fit and who was not," Tisdale added.
"On Friday, we had seven or eight players that I didn't know if they would be available or not.
"Jordan (Moore-Taylor) and Scot (Bennett) should be fit for Morecambe though."
As for the result itself, which sees the Grecians maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign, Tisdale could not have been happier, especially after such a scintillating first-half display.
"The players started the game fantastically well with a lot of positivity and creative play and were a real threat on goal," the Grecians chief said.
"We thoroughly deserved our 2-0 lead, we maybe could have got more and we then tried our best not to keep a clean sheet by being a bit sloppy but Artur made some good saves. It was a really good performance."