Macclesfield Town vs. Tranmere Rovers – 05/12/23
Youth Spotlight – Harry Lutakome, Aidan McDade & Benjamin Johns
Macclesfield’s 4-2 victory over League 2 outfit Tranmere Rovers in midweek saw three academy stars gain first-team experience as Harry Lutakome, Benjamin Johns and Aidan McDade were called up from the youth setup.
Partnered with UCLan’s University Programme, Macclesfield’s international academy provides budding footballers from across the globe with the opportunity to combine studying at degree level with structured training and player development.
The programme is available to both male and female student-athletes, regardless of their footballing ability, and delivers the perfect pathway to success on and off the field.
Tuesday night’s Cheshire Senior Cup fixture was Aidan McDade’s second call-up to the first team, which came as a result of his frequent impressive performances for the reserves,scoring three goals in seven appearances.
Harry Lutakome and Benjamin Johns were called up for the first time directly from the club’s U23s setup, with the former starting in all three of his appearances for the U23s. Last night he started in defence alongside Premier League winner Danny Simpson.
Prior to the game, Lutakome expressed his excitement to be playing and was complimentary of the opportunity to be starting alongside someone of Simpson’s calibre. Harry’s veteran counterpart responded by saying that this is what football is all about, allowing the next generation to showcase their talent and the hard work they put in.
Lutakome didn’t have much to do in the first half as the Silkmen dominated possession, but when called upon, he demonstrated astounding aerial prowess and blistering recovery speed. He also showcased ethereal on-the-ball composure, often carrying the ball forward and confidently picking out a necessary pass, which is an excellent feat at his age.
His teammates deservedly bestowed a lot of trust upon Harry’s young shoulders, communicating with and guiding him well, which especially aided him in the second half as Tranmere applied more pressure and cut the deficit.
Benjamin Johns replaced Danny Simpson at left-back with just under fifteen minutes to go, but he was left with little to deal with as the momentum had returned to the home team by this point. When needed, however, Johns combined well with his surrounding teammates to overload the opposition and win the ball back to start a counter.
Following the full-time whistle, goalkeeper Conor O’Keefe praised the performance of the youngsters, highlighting Harry Lutakome as ‘excellent from start to finish’. Harry acknowledged this commendation, attributing his stellar performance to his confidence and ability to not give up.
by Louis Scattergood