Western Mail

Sonny is top of the class for Newport

- Sonny Lewis

SONNY Lewis came out of the classroom at St Julian’s School this week to face the biggest examinatio­n of his life at Rodney Parade.

The 15-year-old not only passed with flying colours, but also became the youngest player to represent Newport County after starting in the 1-0 Football League Trophy defeat to Cheltenham.

A week ago, County boss Michael Flynn was facing questions on whether he was taking a risk on signing-up 41-year-old Kevin Ellison for one more season. This time it was whether a player of such tender years – 15 years, 149 days – was a risk.

“If they are good enough I will give them a chance. I don’t care about their age, whether they are 15 or 41, I will make my own decisions and I will stick by them,” said Flynn.

“It’s not nice losing a game, but there were a lot of positives. We changed it around, changed the formation and gave a lot of people their debuts.”

Star billing among the debutants was Wales U15 cap Lewis, a midfield player who first joined County as an U11 and was given a prescholar­ship when he was 14. He became the fifth youngest player to appear in the competitio­n and overtook the previous record for the youngest County player held by Regan Poole at 16 years, 94 days.

“We had to get a letter from his headmaster and his parents to allow him to play. I didn’t tell him he was playing because I didn’t want him thinking too much about it and worrying,” said Flynn.

“He was a little bit late arriving and we all thought he had been given detention. He grew into the game and after the first 10 minutes he was excellent.

“He used to live by me when I first moved back to Newport. Then he was just a little kid playing in the street, so now I definitely feel old!

“It’s exceptiona­l for a 15-year-old to make their debut no matter what competitio­n it is. I’m really pleased for him.”

Two 17-year-olds, striker Ryan Hiller and wing back Lewys Twamley, also came on to make their debuts. Swansea City loanee Brandon Cooper was another newcomer.

Cooper will be the only one of the newbies who is likely to remain for this weekend’s League 2 opener at Scunthorpe, where Flynn will be hoping for a return to the form that saw his side dump Swansea out of the Carabao Cup last Saturday.

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