Teenage loanee Jack Fitzwater says he wasn’t expecting first team action at Chesterfield so soon - but is thrilled to have been given the chance.
The 17-year-old was plunged into action just 15 minutes into last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Colchester United following the sending off of Drew Talbot.
And Fitzwater, who had only signed on a one month loan deal from Premier League side West Bromwich Albion the day before, says the experience was one he’ll never forget.
“I didn’t really have time to be nervous,” he said.
“When Drew got sent off I was quite surprised the manager turned to me but before I knew it I was on the pitch and making my professional debut. I hadn’t even warmed up!
“I really enjoyed it. I was up against a tricky wingerin Callum Harriott but I felt I did OK and had a few good reviews from people afterwards so I was happy.
“I was really tired. I’m used to being physically tired after games but this was obviously mentally draining too given it was the first time I’d played in front of a big crowd and it was my debut, it really took it out of me.”
It was something of a baptism of fire in the end for Fitzwater as the Spireites conceded two late goals to eventually take a point.
He said: “We’d done really well to be 3-1 up with ten men but they’d been knocking on the door, especially in the second-half, and in the end I think we just caved in.
“It’s one of those games we just have to put to bed and then try and bounce back with three points on Saturday.”
Having been at West Bromwich Albion since he was nine-years-old, Fitzwater’s ultimate aim is to break into the first team at the Hawthorns.
But having been given the opportunity to spend time at Chesterfield, he is determined to make the most of it.
He said: “I knew Tony Pulis liked me and I’d been impressing him but didn’t expect the move to happen so quickly. I was on a day off and my agent rang saying they wanted me to go out on loan and that I’d be going up to Chesterfield and I went straight away.
“It’s a new ground, new surroundings and League One football is a massive step up from the under-21 football I’ve been used to playing, which is still a really good standard but with much more emphasis on the technical side of things.
“Obviously I’m only 17 so have a lot to learn but being here has already helped me and to have played a match straight away was a massive bonus too.
“I’m only here for a month initially so I’ll do what I usually do and work hard in training, as even that has been beneficial to me already in terms of my development. If I get any game time it’s a bonus.
“This time a month ago I had no idea I’d be playing League One football so it’s been a whirlwind experience. Obviously long term I’d love to get into the first team at West Brom but this move will be a big building block for my career and I intend to make the most of it.”