The 15 year old history maker and Manchester United

Last updated : 30 November 2008 By Shrimpers24
As Junior Stanislas left the pitch with seconds to go, a deserved standing ovation after his two goal debut, another player making his first appearance took his place. 

This one was slightly different. It made Southend United history as the youngest player ever to play in the first team.

Many questions were asked at Roots Hall and TLG tries to answer a few of them with help from ex-editor Rob Craven. 

Femi has been playing for the Under-16s this season, and they've had a very good start to the campaign. In fact, with the likes of Julian Okai, Jamie Stevens and Michael McGew already making their debuts for the Under-18s, the batch of next year's first-year scholars is already starting to take shape!

Femi was on the bench for the Under-18s in their Youth Alliance League fixture against Aldershot Town, (which we won 6-2), but it was Okai who came on with 20 minutes left. He's still to make his debut for either the Under-18s or the Reserves.

However, earlier this season, he went up to Manchester United for what was initially only going to be a couple of days, although he subsequently spent a week with the Red Devils. This is yet more evidence of Ricky Duncan encouraging his youngsters to taste what it is like at a big club if possible. By all accounts, United were pleased with what they saw, but with Femi making his first-team bow today, it will be apparent to the youngster that he will be much closer to competitive action here.

Today's minute of added time was the first time Rob had seen him 'play' as well, (if marking the goalkeeper for sixty seconds while the ball is held in the corner counts as playing!). Rob also thinks the fact that he got on is a bit of a kick in the teeth for the lads who were handed development contracts this season and have all been sent out on loan at various stages, and also a lot of the Under-18s that have been in good form this term (with the exception of three Cup fixtures).

When Rob spoke to Ricky Duncan for the F.A. Youth Cup programme, it was just after Femi had spent his period at Manchester United, and it was clear that as a club we rate him highly. He had been doing really well for us in the Under-16s, which is why they had a look - it just goes to show how well Ricky, Luke Hobbs, Mark Bonner and all the staff at the Centre of Excellence have done to get this club into a position where Premier League scouts from the north-west of England are looking at our youngsters. Even if nothing comes of it, what a fantastic experience for the lad.

A word about Johnny Herd. Against Telford, (in the home leg at least), he looked a little nervous and didn't play as well as he has done on countless occasions for the reserves and Under-18s. Against Luton, along with Stanislas in front of him, he looked at home against League opposition, albeit from the division below, and evidence was provided when he burst into the box from Revell's lay-off and had the confidence to hit a good, low shot with his weaker right foot. Hopefully, he'll get more chances to impress in the first-team now.

Thanks Rob and this discussion continues here: