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Scholar Sutherland top of the class

Posted: Mon 17 Sep 2012
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Latics Trainee Chris Sutherland

Latics Trainee Chris Sutherland

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Youngster handed first-team debut

Chris Sutherland is Latics' latest new kid on the block.

The 17-year-old scholar was handed a surprise debut in Saturday's home npwer League One match against Notts County.

Sutherland, who is a second-year trainee, came on as a late substitute as manager Paul Dickov rewarded him for a series of dazzling display for the youth and reserve teams.

The Middleton-based winger scored a terrific goal for the reserves against Hartlepool United in midweek and learned on Friday he was included in the first-team squad against Notts County.

It got even better the next day when Sutherland was named in the matchday 17.

Then towards the end of the game, Sutherland was summoned as an 85th minute substitute for Cristian Montano.

"I thought I would be more nervous than I was. It was more of a feeling of excitement," he explained.

Sutherland added the pace of the game was far different to youth and reserve-team football.

"It was a lot faster and quicker than other games I have played. I have also noticed how difficult to hear what is happening on the pitch," he continued.

There was no chance of Sutherland being carried away by new-found fame as today he was back grounded doing college studies.

Sutherland, who played as a junior with Middleton Colts, joined Latics as an under-13's player.

He believes he has improved as a player since the pre-season trip to Holland which opened his eyes to a different style of football.

Former England coach Steve McClaren, now manager of Dutch side FC Twente, gave a presentation to Latics' youngsters.

He told them how FC Twente's young players are made to compile match reports of first-team games.

This is something Latics' Head of Youth Tony Philliskirk has implemented at Boundary Park and which Sutherland believes has helped make him a better player.

He said: "We have always watched first-team games, but now have to do so more closely.

"The match reports are about the players who play in your positions explaining what they do well and badly.

"I have to watch what Lee Croft and Cristiano Montano do in terms of their movement and what they do with the ball to help learn how to play my position."