MIKE Pollitt believes Wigan Athletic may have unearthed a gem in Angelo Henriquez if his debut is anything to go by.
The 18-year-old striker, on loan from Manchester United, made an immediate impression after coming on as a half-time substitute against Bournemouth.
Henriquez hit the bar with a clever header within seven minutes of his introduction, and his movement was the catalyst behind Wigan securing a 1-1 draw and a replay next week.
And Pollitt, who was making his first appearance in nearly two years, hopes there is plenty more to come from the Chile international with Arouna Kone having departed for the African Nations Cup.
“You’ve got to remember Angelo’s only 18 – it’s tough and he’s not yet played a league game over here yet,” said Pollitt.
“He played a few senior games in Chile and it’s a different kettle of fish.
“He’s had a little spell at Manchester United for six months, found his feet a little bit.
“He’s only really played the Under-21 league, so it’s a bit step up for him playing against senior players in the FA Cup.
“But this will give him a bit of confidence.
“He’s getting to know the lads a little bit more and we’re going to be looking to play him more now with Arouna going away.
“It’s a chance for him to come and try and impress.
“At the end of the day, he’s a Manchester United player, so it will be good for them as well if he gets some games under his belt and come experience here.”
Latics required a Jordi Gomez goal inside the final quarter to ensure a second bite at the Cherries, who had led through Eunan O’Kane’s cracker in the first half.
But Pollitt defended Roberto Martinez’s decision to make nine changes from the team that lost to Manchester United on New Year’s Day.
“It’s difficult because the priority is always going to be the Premier League,” Pollitt added.
“With the games we’ve had, over Christmas we had four games in a crazy amount of days, the lads needed a rest.
“We’ve just got to go down there for the replay with a good attitude and hopefully we’ll come away with the right result.”