Nathan Asiimwe spoke of his pride after making his league debut in the Addicks' final-day clash at Cheltenham Town on Sunday.
The right-back, who made his senior debut in the Papa John's Trophy last November, came on as a 74th-minute substitute at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium.
“It still doesn’t feel real now,” he told CharltonTV post-match. “It was just so exciting, so fun. Just so many emotions. The fans were amazing, honestly.
"I couldn't wait to get on and prove myself. [Dean Holden] just told me to run hard, bring loads of energy, be honest and work for the team. I just want to prove to him that I can be an asset."
The 18-year-old was one of 11 academy graduates in Dean Holden's matchday squad last weekend.
Asked about the pathway through to the first team at the club, he said: “It’s just added motivation really. It makes you believe that nothing is impossible and your chance is there whenever, so you’ve just got to keep working hard and never lose sight of that.
“It makes me more and more hungry to go away in the off-season and work hard to come back and kick on next season as well.”
The league debutant was full of thanks for the academy staff for helping him to get to this point.
“If I named everyone in the staff we’d be here all afternoon so I can’t!” he laughed. “The staff have been a big, big help. I've learnt so many different lessons and taken so much knowledge from different people. When there are familiar faces [like Anthony Hayes] on the sideline, it helps a lot. It makes me feel comfortable.”
Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club’s academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.
(Article by Jamie Barton)