Mason Bennett hungry to score more for Derby County after opening account with a late, fast show to cap victory
MASON Bennett is targeting more goals – and more records – after becoming Derby County's youngest-ever goalscorer.
The striker rounded off the Rams' 5-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday – at the age of 16 years and 174 days.
That makes him 32 days younger than Lee Holmes was when the winger netted against Coventry City in October 2003.
Bennett had already broken Holmes' record for the youngest player to make a first-team appearance for Derby when he started at Middlesbrough in October 2011, aged 15 years and 99 days. But he had to wait until his 13th appearance, against Tranmere, for his first senior goal.
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"It was great to get my first goal," said the teenager. "I've been waiting for a while.
"I haven't had much of a chance this season but it's finally come and I'm happy about it.
"As a forward, I want to start scoring more now.
"It's good to get another record too and, hopefully, I can get some more!
"It's nice to get the chance and I'm happy that the gaffer (Nigel Clough) has put me out there."
Eleven of Bennett's first-team outings have come as a substitute, four of them this season.
And he had only just come off the bench when he netted from the edge of the area in the 87th minute to cap off the Rams' biggest win of the season.
"I got the ball trapped under my feet and I thought I was going to lose it," said Bennett.
"But I opened up a bit of space and thought: 'I've just got to hit it and hope for the best'.
"The keeper got a touch but, thankfully, it went in.
"I didn't know what to do – I was just running round like crazy!"
Bennett almost scored on his debut at the Riverside Stadium, going close on several occasions and being denied by the woodwork.
Since then, perhaps unsurprisingly due to his age, his chances have been relatively limited.
"I was unlucky with the chance that hit the crossbar at Middlesbrough," said the England youth international.
"But everyone told me to just forget about it, so it's not really been on my mind.
"I've just kept my head down and worked hard."
Bennett has been training with the Rams' first-team on a full-time basis this season.
"It's been great to work on my technical ability," he said. "It's good to be around the boys day in, day out.
"I definitely feel fitter and my skill and technical levels are improving massively."
The forward, from Shirebrook, is hoping his landmark moment will help his chances of further involvement with the senior squad, who travel to Brighton in the Championship this weekend.
"Hopefully, after this, I can get a few more chances," he said.
"All I can do is keep working hard and do my best – and hope the gaffer picks me.
"Hopefully, I can travel down with the team on Friday night but we'll just have to wait and see.
"The team are on fire at the moment, especially the forwards – Conor Sammon and Michael Jacobs – so I've just got to be patient and wait for my turn."