Darren Ferguson says Alfie Beestin is “ahead of schedule” and he would not hesitate to start him in a League Two game.
The 19-year-old, who joined Doncaster Rovers from Tadcaster Albion over the summer, is competing with Liam Mandeville to replace the suspended John Marquis in attack against Barnet today.
Mandeville’s greater experience might ultimately earn him the nod.
But Beestin, who impressed against Derby County in the Checkatrade Trophy this week, is now ready to make the step up into the EFL, according to Ferguson.
Asked by The Star whether Beestin is ready to start a league game, Ferguson replied: “Yes, definitely.
“Now whether he can do that for two games in a week is a big question but I would have no hesitation in starting him [in a League Two game].
“He’s a couple of months ahead of schedule in that respect.
“I thought we’d be looking at maybe Christmas time but where he has developed very quickly from the Mansfield game is mentally. He really took a lot of confidence out of that.
“You can see a difference in him from the Mansfield game to the Derby game.
“He had a bit more stature about him. He looked like someone who now thought ‘I do belong at this level’.
“Physically he’s developed a lot quicker than I thought too.”
In addition to his rapid development, Ferguson is also thrilled with how Beestin has handled the move into a professional environment, jumping from the Evo-Stik League to League Two.
“He’s handled it really well,” said Rovers’ boss.
“He’s a lovely lad. He comes from quite a hard background which I think is a good thing as well.
“When we got him in he was this sort of scruffy, cumbersome, six-foot lad, and you were thinking ‘what have we got here?’
“But straight away you just thought he’s good great feet, good control, technique. I love him as a player.
“The lads can see some of the stuff that he does and they like him as well.
“He’s a good lad, he’s down to earth and he just goes about his job,” he added.
“I love watching him train, love watching him play and I’ve got high hopes for him.
“We don’t want to rush him too much but I certainly feel he’s ahead of schedule.
“He’s got certain attributes to his game that are hard to find.
“The pass for the goal on Tuesday night was an example of that. He did one on the first half as well.
“His vision and awareness of what’s around him is very good.”