The Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell says that he felt handing Billy Sass-Davies his debut ahead of time against Newcastle United U-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy set him back in his development.
The young centre-half, 19 went out on loan to the non-league to rediscover his form and any lost confidence and when he made his league debut against Yeovil on Good Friday, he looked a first team player of the future.
Artell elected to pull him out again to the trip to Swindon on Monday but took time out to explain to him.
The boss said: “I spoke to Billy and said ‘don’t think it’s anything to do with your performance against Yeovil’.
“I’m just really mindful of the fact that we put him in against Newcastle United 18 months ago for his debut, and it stalled his development for a number of months.
“I look back now and think it was the wrong decision. He ended up having to go all the way back to the under 18s to regain form and confidence because of one performance against a very good U23 Newcastle team.
“I didn’t want to subject him to that against a team at a ground where we’ve not done very well historically, and I didn’t want to do him more harm than good.
“Yes, he’s 18 months further down the line and he’s been with Altrincham and FC United on loan, and is bigger and wiser, but I didn’t want to take the risk.
“He understood it. That’s why we put Ryan in there, and he was terrific. “