Teenage Cumbrian debutants Taylor Charters and Lewis Bell deserved their first-team opportunities for Carlisle United at Sunderland, says No2 Gavin Skelton.

Midfielder Charters mad his first start while Bell came off the bench for his first senior appearance.

It was a milestone occasion for both home-grown players in Carlisle’s 5-3 EFL trophy defeat.

Both Cumbrians will benefit from the experience, Skelton said.

The assistant boss told the News & Star: “The experience will be so important for them.

“It was important for Taylor to get his start and I thought Lew Bell looked composed when he came on, which was good for him.

“That will give him confidence. He’s performed well in training and he’s deserved his opportunity.

“He’s been training with us for the last few weeks, and for both of them you can’t beat experience.

“There’s nothing better than actually playing in a match. You can do all the training you like but you really learn your trade in matches.”

Carlisle-born Bell, 18, was recently awarded a professional deal by United and is regarded highly by the club.

West Cumbrian Charters, 19, had made 11 sub appearances before last night’s promotion to the starting XI.

He was one of four full debutants in the side along with defender Jack Armer, keeper Magnus Norman and loan midfielder Connor Malley.

It was summer signing Norman’s first outing for the club after he missed the early weeks of 2020/21 with injury.

Skelton said: “Magnus was in really good shape when he came in for pre-season but he was obviously really unfortunate with his injury.

“He needs games and more training sessions to get back to where he was, so it was pleasing for him to get his debut and 90 minutes.”