Forest Green boss Mark Cooper lauded the impact of rookie 19-year-old striker Taylor Allen after his stunning match-winning goal off the bench got Rovers’ season off to a flyer.
It took Allen just seven minutes to make an impact – rifling into the roof of the net in the 72nd minute, grabbing his first goal on his Football League debut.
Cooper, who plucked the gem from non-league Nuneaton, said: “ I put him on I knew he’s got a goal in him, he’s got a great left-foot on him and he nearly burst the net with that one and the one afterwards – we think he’s one who has got a really bright future for his age.”
However, Cooper was furious with the second minute challenge on George Williams, which forced the Wales international off with a potentially career-threatening injury following a Zak Mills challenge.
“We think he’s going to have surgery,” Cooper said. “I don’t understand the referee, it’s a two-footed tackle off the floor and the referee’s word was ‘I’ll let you have that as it’s your first one’.
“You are talking about people’s careers here and I don’t understand it.”
Cooper is not reading anything into his side’s League Two opener, though.
“I don’t read too much into the first game,” said Cooper.
“You get a lot of freak results because people are still finding their feet, new signings are bedding in, so different variables. It’s always lovely to win the first game and then everyone can get carried away and think ‘we’re going to do this and do that’, but if you lose there’s a lot of doom and gloom, ’sack the manager, we’re going to get relegated’.
“It’s important we keep our heads and keeps focussed on the end goal.”
Meanwhile, Laurent Banide, appointed boss of the Latics in June insists a raft of new signings will take time to bed in, but praised the impact of former Premier League star David Wheater.
“When you have 14 or 15 in the team who don’t arrive at the same time, it’s not easy to create a spirit,” the Frenchman said.
“Wheater is important to his other team-mates and we’re open to one or two more players, but we will have to wait and see.”