Wellington Phoenix sensation Louis Fenton has revealed he was not overawed by the daunting prospect of facing Australia's FIFA World Cup defender Brett Emerton on his A-League debut.
The 19-year-old whiz kid capped a superlative game against Sydney FC with a glorious diving header that gave Phoenix a deserved 2-0 victory.
Wellington-born Fenton, whose first love was cricket, was playing for Melbourne Knights in the Victorian Premier League in June and signed a three-year contract with Phoenix only a month ago after coming through the club's academy.
Phoenix had five New Zealand World Cup players in its side while the Sky Blues paraded former Italy star Alessandro Del Piero.
The first match of the season at Westpac Stadium was very much an opening night full of experienced campaigners but it was novice striker Fenton who stole the show and grabbed the headlines after a head-turning performance that caught everyone, including Emerton, by surprise.
”I really enjoyed the experience of playing my first A-League game in front of a big crowd,” Fenton said.
”When I found out that I was starting, my teammates told me to do what I usually do at training and I should be right.
”I thought I did alright and to score on my debut was a dream come true.
”Manny (Muscat) went away on the right and I kept on running on the left and when he turned in a beautiful cross I did the rest with my head.
”It was not the first time I scored with my head.
”I suppose the other teams will know who I am now but I believe that I can continue to do well.
”Ricki (Herbert) told me afterwards the whole team did well and now I have to back it up next week.”
Fenton's next challenge will come on Sunday when Phoenix is away to Melbourne Heart.
It will be a tough assignment for Phoenix, which will be severely depleted because its five New Zealand internationals will be on World Cup qualifying duty in home and away matches with Tahiti.
Yet young Fenton is looking forward to the trip across the Tasman to Melbourne.
”We won't have our strongest team out there at the weekend but I think the whole squad is capable and eager to get a starting spot and prove they are good enough to play in the league,” he said.
”Hopefully I'll start and keep playing in that left-sided role.
”I've always been an attacking player on either side.”
Fenton is the talk of the town in Wellington and he has had so many interview requests in the past few days that Phoenix media manager Russell Gray is planning to give him a break from the media from next week so he can concentrate solely on his football.
Football Federation Australia has announced that the Young Socceroos will play an international friendly match against New Zealand Under-20's on Monday 10 June at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.