Manager Keith Millen has praised the maturity of teenager Sam Fishburn after his battling full Carlisle United debut against Walsall.

The home-grown striker was promoted to the starting line-up a day after his 18th birthday in Saturday’s 1-0 win.

Fishburn was up against imposing Saddlers centre-halves Manny Monthe and Rollin Menayese.

Manager Millen said he was pleased with how the young prospect handled himself.

“I was hoping Sam might have got the goal because he was 18 on Friday and he’s obviously old enough to drink champagne now," Millen said.

“It would have been quite nice for him to have got that. It didn’t matter who scored the goal, but he competed.

News and Star: Keith Millen congratulates Sam Fishburn after the Walsall game (photo: Barbara Abbott)Keith Millen congratulates Sam Fishburn after the Walsall game (photo: Barbara Abbott)

“He’s a young lad when you see him around the place – but when he goes onto the pitch he looks like a man.

“That’s what I like about him. He battles, he holds his own and he’s a real handful. He has such a bright future if he keeps working hard.

“Sam, for an 18-year-old, doesn’t play like one. He competed, he was excellent. I was really pleased for him.”

Fishburn has forced his way into the first-team picture after a successful non-league loan spell with Lancaster City earlier this season.

He was joined in an all-teenage strikeforce on Saturday alongside Aston Villa loanee Brad Young, who is also 18.

“Walsall’s centre halves are big, they really are, and for Brad it was a bit of a rude awakening for him at times up against them,” Millen said.

“He’ll learn that that’s what he’s going to have to deal with.

“He is still a young lad, and so is Taylor Charters who came on, so it’s good to see.”