After making his professional debut in the second round of the Carabao Cup against Barnsley at Oakwell on Tuesday night, 16-year-old Max Bird labelled the occasion as a dream come true.

Named in Gary Rowett’s starting XI, the aspiring central-midfielder played 80 minutes before being replaced by another debutant in Callum Guy.

And although for the team the night ended in a disappointing 3-2 defeat, both Rowett and Bird’s team mates sung the youngster praises for his display of composure and collectiveness on the ball.

Offering his thoughts on making his professional debut, Bird spoke exclusively to RamsTV and said: “It was a tough challenge for me and a big step up but I felt alright in there.

“It was an unreal feeling with the atmosphere as well and the fans were great as they always are.

“You have to work hard to get to that point. There are a lot of sacrifices that you have to make and all the extras that you have to do after to training.

“Little things like make a massive difference but overall, it really was a dream come true for me.”

As well as serving as major milestone for Bird and Guy, it was also a big night for one other midfielder in particular.

George Thorne made his return to competitive first-team football after a long spell out and he was another of the many plaudits to praise Bird after playing alongside him for the majority of the night.

On the experience playing alongside the likes of Thorne and looking ahead to the future, Bird added: “It was a great experience for me playing alongside George Thorne. He helped me a lot though out the game and was always talking to me.

It helped me through the game and was what I needed because it was a big challenge but all the players helped me get through it.

“Now is all about pushing myself.

“My standards don’t change, I need to keep doing the same things on and off the pitch and hopefully that will take me to where I want to be.

“Hopefully I can keep knocking on the gaffer’s door to try and get in that starting XI once again in the league games as well.”