Sonny Carey gives King’s Lynn Town boss a nudge
- Credit: Archant
Ian Culverhouse says he has a real prospect on his hands with Sonny Carey – CHRIS LAKEY looks at the teenager's role at King's Lynn Town
There was an awful lot to like about King's Lynn Town's first win in midweek - but a cameo performance by a young newcomer to The Walks almost stole the show.
Sonny Carey was playing for Wroxham in the Thurlow Nunn Premier last season - on Tuesday, against Kettering, he made his National League North bow, and marked it with the winning goal.
Ian Culverhouse first knew about Carey through Ryan Jarvis, his midfield lynchpin and a coach with the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation shadow squad, of which the youngster was a part.
Carey was a regular at Lynn training for a couple of months at the end of last season, so integration into the squad wasn't a problem. What might be a problem for Culverhouse now is how to pick 11 starting players from a small but perfectly-formed squad bristling with talent - with Carey earning his spurs when it matters most.
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Sam Kelly set up Carey's winner with a brilliant pull-back from the byline - yet the former City youth team player, with plenty of Football League experience, hasn't been able to start either of Lynn's two games.
What that quality in depth has brought is strong competition for places - much stronger than it was last season.
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Witness Chris Henderson and Michael Clunan, who were magnificent against Kettering.
If Culverhouse has 18 players all ticking all the boxes, it goes without saying he will have a much better squad - as well as that "selection dilemma" that managers crave.
So where does Carey fit in? He's inexperienced - 16 minutes at this level, and that in an unfamiliar right wing-back position. He's only 18, although if anyone thinks he's immature then that 16 minutes of play plus his post-match chat with the media proves otherwise.
Read what you will into Culverhouse's verdict, starting with the goal...
"Sam Kelly's little jinking run along the touchline and, for a little kid like he is, he's cute and cool as anything. For an 18-year-old boy just to come on and strike it in the bottom corner ... brilliant.
"He is a hell of a prospect, he is a really confident boy, and he has loads and loads of ability. We will nurture him and bring him forward and he will improve in this group because they are all good players. We asked him to come on as a right wing back, and he said 'no problem, I'll do that'. He came on, nice little cut back and strolled on to it, bottom corner."
Culverhouse's starting line-up for Kettering was the same that started the season-opener at Guiseley, which Lynn lost 3-0.
"I thought they deserved to it because I didn't think we played that badly, it was just the poor goals we gave away at the time and it was a chance for them to put it right," was Culverhouse's reasoning.
Which suggests that, having beaten Kettering and now facing a very ambitious Hereford side at The Walks on Saturday, he will stick to the same XI - after all, Carey is one to be nurtured, and that mans slowly, slowly, catchy good footballer. One fly in the manager's ointment might be the fitness of central defender Rory McAuley, struck down by illness ahead of the Guiseley game which restricted him to the opening half, and then out on his feet after a typically determined showing against Kettering. It was his weary departure after 74 minutes which gave Carey his opportunity.
The youngster himself will clearly want to take the next stop in his development.
"It was the first time playing at home in front of all the fans - I loved it. It was great," he said.
"I am always a confident player, I trust my ability and I think the more I play the more I will get used to the league and the intensity, but, yes, a good start.
"It feels great to come on, and in an unfamiliar position. I was a little bit disappointed not to get on on Saturday but I came on today, took my chance and it was great to get on the scoresheet.
"I saw a gap opening, good play down the left and it sort of came to me in slow motion. I heard the fans roar, got my head over it and it was a good finish.
"It sounded pretty loud when I scored."