Tashan Oakley-Boothe couldn’t have asked for a better scenario to make his first league appearance.
Not that the 20-year-old would get his break due to a serious injury, but coming on for Stoke City at half-time when the side is already 3-0 up and in complete command against a visibly struggling Hull team.
England youth international Oakley-Boothe has been on the bench in recent weeks after joining Stoke from Tottenham Hotspur on January deadline day.
Sam Clucas and Joe Allen have had the midfield spots tied up, while Jordan Thompson and Jordan Cousins have alternated as the holding midfielder or, when Michael O’Neill has played a number 10, Nick Powell has been in superb form.
But that ruptured Achilles for Allen saw O’Neill turn to Oakley-Boothe.
It was in the closing stages that he came to the fore, making two clever runs in the penalty area – with the latter setting up a fifth goal for Powell to tap in from close range.
O’Neill said: “It’s good for Tashan coming in. It’s a nice situation to come in and play your first game in the Football League when you’re three up.
“He has to adapt, I think, to the Championship and the hurly burly nature of it but he had a lovely piece of play just before the goal he set up – then showed his quality in setting up the fifth goal.
“He’s a young player that we’ve brought to the club. We’ve brought him here based on the fact he’s got real potential and he’s got great running power as well. I think we saw that in those two instances.
“It was a good start for him.”