Healy predicts bright futures for his Windsor young guns
David Healy is convinced his 15-year-old whizz-kids Dale Taylor and Charlie Allen are learning vital football lessons from the experienced senior stars in Linfield's dressing room.
Taylor and Allen's late entrance as substitutes inspired a stirring comeback from the Blues in Tuesday night's County Antrim Shield tie at home to Cliftonville as they drew level at 2-2 having been two goals down before losing on penalties.
Gifted youngster Allen has been hitting the headlines all year with a host of clubs across the water chasing him but it was Taylor who shone brighter against the Reds, scoring a super goal in the 81st minute prior to Kirk Millar's outstanding free-kick.
Taylor had his penalty saved by Richard Brush in the shoot-out while Allen netted his, illustrating they have the character to step up in high pressure situations.
Healy's other substitutes Daniel Reynolds and Trai Hume also made an impact but, at 20 and 17 respectively, they are like pensioners compared to Taylor and Allen!
"The last number of weeks with them being in around experienced players like Jamie Mulgrew, Mark Stafford, Andy Waterworth, Jimmy Callacher, Niall Quinn and Kirk Millar, they can only learn from that," said Healy.
"I thought when Dale Taylor came on in Tuesday's game he was exceptional for someone so young. Charlie coming on also gave us a spark. Trai Hume and Daniel Reynolds as well, the subs gave us impetus to get back into the game.
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"Dale missed a penalty but he'll learn more from that than playing a game in the Swifts or junior football.
"He has a really bright future. That's not me trying to sell him because I hope we have Dale here for a long time. Dale's a talented boy and the more he is training with Andy Waterworth and Shayne Lavery, he'll pick up good things from them.
"Charlie is one that is coming to the attention of other clubs and rightly so but the pleasing thing is seeing how well they both did when they came on. In hindsight, you wonder could I have started them but the more experienced players had earned the right to play and wanted to play."
Asked if he had any fears in throwing them into big games so young, Healy said: "Absolutely not, especially when they are that talented.
"Dale's a chunk of a lad and is a strong, tough boy. He's a Tiger's Bay boy and is from an area where you need to be tough mentally. Dale has all the attributes.
"Charlie has all the attributes, too. He may not have the size and stature yet, but he has absolute quality."