Alex Mighten said it was an amazing experience to make his full Nottingham Forest debut against Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup.
The Reds lost out 2-0 in the third-round tie at Stamford Bridge but Mighten felt the team could be proud of their efforts on a day when the club’s academy was highlighted for its work.
The 17-year-old was one of five academy graduates in the starting line-up, with 10 in total in the matchday squad.
“It was an unreal experience,” Mighten said after the game. “To come here for my first start at Stamford Bridge was amazing. The fans were fantastic and I thought we gave it everything, we tried, we had a game plan and stuck to it and it almost came off at times. We got in quite a few times but it was just that last little bit. Overall it was a great experience.
“It is the moment that I dreamed of and to have the chance to go out there and show what I can do, it is amazing.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out. In training I got handed the bib for the starting 11 and I was buzzing. I went home, told my mum, told my family and everyone was excited.
“When you get on the pitch, it is just 11 against 11. You can’t think of them as idols or anything, you have to respect them of course but you are against them and want to get the win.
“I had some nerves, mainly when I first found out. Today I have been alright, coming here it didn’t really sink in but then doing the warm-up I had settled into it and tried to play my game.
“I tried to do everything I could. Sometimes you can’t get on the ball all the time so you just have to run and hope for the best, put a shift in for the team and that’s what I tried to do.
“We can be proud of ourselves, obviously it is not the result we wanted but we stuck together throughout the game and tried to be confident.
“Chelsea are a big team, it is always going to be a difficult game. We just tried to stick together and I thought we did that.”