Nobes and Anton show the way

Freddie Sears reported back to work on Monday morning with the elation of the weekend quickly put aside in favour of getting down to business again on the training ground.

The 18-year-old was the toast of the Boleyn Ground on Saturday after a memorable debut winner against Blackburn Rovers but, while he has rightly basked in the moment, he has already been given some good advice. Team-mates Mark Noble and Anton Ferdinand have 'been there and done that' in breaking through from the youth set-up to the senior side and they know Sears has what it takes to stay grounded.

Noble said: "I am just over the moon for Freddie. He has been grafting, training with us and he has really deserved it and I think he can kick on from here now. I know how he is feeling at the moment. I have been there myself and I hope he really enjoys it, keeps his feet on the floor and keeps working hard and scores many more for us."

The 20-year-old Noble had a quiet word with his younger colleague straight after the game. "I said to him, 'Fred I have been exactly where you are. Go out tonight or whatever you are going to do whether it is with your family or with your mates, enjoy it - but come ready for work on Monday'. That is how it has got to be. We are really pleased for him and I hope he gets all the praise he deserves."

Noble described Sears' biggest asset as "just his goalscoring ability", adding: "He shoots from anywhere. Even when it is a half-chance he will shoot." The midfielder had given Sears a pep-talk just before they both entered as substitutes late in the second half. "I said 'we can change this game. We can take the three points here. If we come on graft, keep the ball' - and that's what happened."

Ferdinand, who overcame a slight groin problem to play, concurred with Noble - describing Sears as "something special". He said: "Even though it was his first game, there were no nerves. He is a real favourite. I have always said that when homegrown players come on to the pitch it lifts the crowd. We saw that. No one deserves it more than him because he is a grounded lad. He is born and bred around this area and I am sure he has got more to come.

"I had a feeling he was going to score when he came on. It was written for him. He deserves every bit of pleasure that he got and this is where the hard work starts now you know. He has got a future at this club definitely and it is up to him to not to let it get to his head."

The defender, still only 23, is aware of the responsibility of being a senior player. "I like to think I am close to a lot of the young boys that are coming through because I have been in their position and I know what it is like. With the amount of players that come through there is a lot of pressure. Everyone expects them to be that much better than what they might be. There is a lot of hard work ahead of all us. We are all still young and love playing football."