Pelly Ruddock was proud and delighted to make his West Ham United in the 2-0 Capital One Cup fourth-round win at Burnley on Tuesday evening.
Two years ago, the 19-year-old was playing in central midfield for non-league side Boreham Wood, where he was part of the club's successul Programme for Academic and Sporting Excellence (PASE) training and education scheme.
Having signed for West Ham in December 2011, the teenager has been converted into a centre-back and become an important part of the Hammers' table-topping Barclays U21 Premier League side this term.
This week, Ruddock was rewarded for his hard work and improvement by being handed a debut at Turf Moor, where he helped to quiet Burnley's 23-goal strike-force of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes.
"It was a good 2-0 win," said Ruddock. "I obviously made my debut and it went well, so hopefully I can make more appearances for the first team and carry on going.
"I knew I'd be playing on the Monday, so I tried to play it cool and wasn't that nervous by the start of the game. I thought I played well, so it's time to move on to the next one.
"It was good and we kept a clean sheet, so the defence played well and I enjoyed it."
Ruddock was one of six Academy graduates to feature at Turf Moor - fellow youngsters Dan Potts and Leo Chambers started at the back alongside captain James Tomkins, with Joe Cole in midfield and substitute Jack Collison coming on and scoring from the penalty spot.
For the young defender, it is all a far cry from his days at Boreham Wood - in terms of both surroundings and his playing position.
"All the hard work has been worthwhile," he revealed. "I was in the first team at Boreham Wood for two seasons and thankfully West Ham came in for me and signed me and I've made my debut this week.
"My debut has vindicated my change of position. I did want to play in midfield but the Gaffer has decided that I'd be able to play at centre-back and I got my chance there.
"I'd like to keep my place for the next round, but if I don't, I'll keep on working and be ready when I'm called upon."