He was still kicking a ball around in primary school when Nigel Adkins, now his manager at Sheffield United, took his first steps on the professional managerial ladder.
But Louis Reed, the latest poster boy for United’s productive youth academy, is fast becoming a man.
“We have a lot of belief in Louis,” Adkins, who handed Reed his 20th appearance of the season during Saturday’s 1-0 win against Port Vale, said.
“There’s a lot of hope around him going forward. He can certainly make a pass. Now it’s all about ensuring he keeps maturing and progressing at the same rate.”
After a commanding performance in the South Yorkshire derby win at Doncaster, Reed was substituted days later as United lost at Bury. But Adkins kept faith with the 18-year-old against Vale and, alongside veteran Dean Hammond in a revised system, the homegrown starlet didn’t disappoint.
“We wanted to get him on the ball as much as possible because, despite still being a young man, he has a very good range of passing,” Adkins added.
“He can improve, of course, and we have to help him with the physical side of things. Like everyone, he has to be able to compete, demonstrate that change of pace and come out on top in those one-on-one duels. But he has a good future.”
Reed became the youngest player to represent United in a league fixture when he made his debut against Rotherham United, aged just 16 years and 257 days.
He has since passed the half-century mark of appearances, and signed a new three-year deal in July 2014.
Meanwhile another of the club’s talented academy graduates, Diego DeGirolamo, scored twice as United’s U21s stretched their unbeaten run to 13 games with a 2-1 win over Coventry City.