At just 16-years-old, Benjamin Mensah put in a composed display at right-back on his debut for the club in win over local rivals.
A starting XI containing four Academy graduates, three additional substitute appearances by U18 players making their debuts in a Peterborough United shirt, three more U18 players as unused substitutes and a 2-1 success over local rivals Cambridge United, meant it was a very good night for the football club as a whole.
Sam Cartwright, Harrison Burrows, Kyle Barker and Ricky-Jade Jones all started the clash against the U’s while Archie Jones and Bobby Copping came on as substitutes, the latter joining the club from Bury’s Academy earlier this season. Benjamin Mensah completed the set and he caught the eye with an excellent display at right-back after replacing the injured Joe Ward at the break.
Mensah is just 16-years-old. He is a recent arrival when compared to the longevity of Archie Jones, Harrison Burrows and Ricky-Jade Jones, who all started their journey in the Academy at under 9s, and is taking his progress in his stride.
“It felt amazing making my debut, the atmosphere was very nice and it was a great experience to be on the pitch. I feel like I played alright, but I could’ve done more to support the team going forward so I could prove I can do both aspects of being a modern right-back, which is defending but then going forward and linking up play at the other end.
“I actually feel more pressure playing for the 18s because when I’m playing with the first team I’m the young one so there’s a lot less pressure put on me and when I’m playing for the 18s I’m playing alongside my friends you don’t want to let them down even more. It is all a learning curve and I am enjoying it,” Mensah said.
Mensah is part of the successful under 18 group who are currently battling Northampton at the top of the Youth Alliance League. They face Stevenage in the second round of the FA Youth Cup next Thursday evening with Aston Villa awaiting the winners of that tie.
“We could certainly win the league in my opinion as we are definitely good enough and have put in performances this season that are worthy of being first. However, we’re 2nd currently so we will fight until the last game of the season and hopefully we can be successful. It would be a good end to the season,” Mensah said.