Bristol City starlet Antoine Semenyo was thrown in at the deep end for his full Championship debut in a 1-0 defeat to promotion-chasing Leeds United on Saturday.
The 19-year-old was the subject of interest from Chelsea and Manchester United in the January transfer window after a bright loan spell at Newport County.
Semenyo bagged six goals during his time in South Wales, but was recalled by his parent-club when the Robins required further attacking cover for their play-off push.
The striker needed to wait for his chance at Ashton Gate and made his first appearance from the bench against Preston earlier this month.
Prior to their encounter with Leeds, the Robins were on a disappointing run that had seen them winless in four matches after a nine-game winning streak. As a result, fans were calling for Semenyo to be given a chance against the Yorkshire club and manager Lee Johnson adhered to their wishes.
The Robins faithful were eager to see Semenyo make his full debut in front of a sold out crowd at Ashton Gate, but the striker struggled to make a real impact against a resilient Leeds side. So was it the right time for Johnson to hand him a starting place?
There is no doubt that Semenyo will have learned a lot about the demands of Championship football from Saturday’s match, but it may have made more sense for him to earn his first start against a more forgiving side.
Leeds suffocated the Robins by granting them limited time on the ball and acting quick to quash any attacks. This was not an environment where Semenyo would ever get a real chance to shine.
As a result, the teenager looked out of his depth against Leeds’ defensive duo Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson and was substituted on the hour mark. Semenyo had shown some promise, but ultimately couldn’t do much against Bielsa’s well-drilled side.
With Paul Lambert’s struggling Ipswich side glued to the bottom of the table, this match provides a better opportunity for Semenyo to further build his confidence after his bright display against Preston.
But Johnson will argue the experience of facing a top side can only put Semenyo in good stead as he looks to establish himself at Ashton Gate. It will be intriguing to see if he gets another chance at Portman Road on Tuesday.