Newcastle United manager Glenn Roeder has admitted he was initially reluctant to throw goalkeeper Tim Krul into first-team action so early in his career.
The Dutch goalkeeper made his Magpies debut against Palermo in the Uefa Cup because of injuries to Shay Given and Steve Harper.
Krul produced a string of fine saves as Newcastle claimed a narrow 1-0 win in Sicily and Roeder was delighted to see the 18-year-old perform so well.
"To be honest, we did not expect him to make his debut for another 18 months or two years," admitted Roeder.
"We intended to send him out on loan to gain some match practice and we will still do so at some stage.
"He has that Dutch mentality which I like and he is a joy to work with in training."
Krul is likely to find himself back on the sidelines for Saturday evening's visit of Sheffield United with Harper expected to be available to return in goal.
Harper watched Krul's performance on Thursday from the bench and the 31-year-old keeper is expecting a bright future for the teenager.
"He was outstanding, what else can I say? It was a 'Roy of the Rovers' debut, and I am chuffed to bits for him," Harper said.
"I have said before he is the best young goalkeeper we have had for a long, long time. He has got it in his make-up and his character. He looks like a man even though he is only 18.
"He has played at a high level youth team-wise, he is captain of his country, and you can see why. He was absolutely magnificent and I am over the moon for him.
"He is going to be a star of the future because he works hard day in, day out.
"That will do him the power of good. You could see it in his eyes at the end. He was absolutely buzzing."
Krul's heroics against Palermo will live long in the youngster's memory but he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, knowing that he still has a long way to go.
He added: "When I got back into the dressing room after doing a TV interview, the rest of the players stood up and applauded me. All I can say is that it's almost impossible to describe my feelings.
"The relationship between the goalkeepers at Newcastle is unbelievable, and it has helped having such a great coach as Terry Gennoe.
"I have grown up in this environment and the other keepers like Shay, Steve and Pav (Pavel Srnicek) see me as their little brother. It is something we always have a laugh about.
"I know if Steve Harper is fit, he will play on Saturday night against Sheffield United, and I have not got a problem with that.
"Shay Given is coming back as well, and that has got to be good for the club."