Mikey O’Neill is hoping to play a larger role in Preston North End’s first-team squad next season.
The 17-year old impressed during his display in the side’s 3-1 win away to Barnsley at the weekend.
The youngster is an exciting prospect at Deepdale, and manager Ryan Lowe is expecting big things from the Liverpool-born player.
It is expected to be a busy summer for the Lilywhites, but O’Neill is hoping his emergence can prove to be a blessing for the club as they look to shape their squad for next season.
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This was his second appearance for the team in the Championship this season, with his debut coming against QPR in early April in a 2-1 win.
This was a larger cameo, however, with the midfielder earning a full 12 minutes of action this time around at Oakwell.
O’Neill is hoping this is just the start of his breakthrough into becoming a first team regular under Lowe, who he praised for helping bring him into the squad so smoothly.
“Words can’t describe how good that felt to be honest and I felt good once I got out there,” said O’Neill, via Lancs Live.
“I am hoping [Lowe] will help me for a long time in my career and as I get used to playing with the first-team.
“That team is just full of quality, there are some outstanding players and I’m always learning off them all.
“I’m still 17, so I could’ve found it hard, but I felt like I dealt with it well even though I’m young and hopefully I can build on it. I can’t fault [the lads], it’s such a good group and they just make you feel welcome.
“The times I’ve been travelling with them, they’ve all been great. I’ve been on the bench a few times and they make you feel more and more welcome each time.”
Preston are going into the final round of fixtures with the side 14th in the Championship table.
Their last game of the season comes at home to play-off chasing Middlesbrough, with the sides meeting on May 7.
O’Neill speaks with great confidence for someone only 17-years old, which is quite impressive.
Players need to be confident when coming into senior football for the first time, otherwise they could drown under the pressure.
Preston fans will be delighted to see such a young player coming through, and O’Neill has impressed so far.
This will also ease concerns over the depth of the squad going into the transfer market, knowing that the academy is continuing to produce first team quality talent.