Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says 16-year-old Jack Sparkes has made a "lovely start" after making his debut in their draw at Swindon on Saturday.
The winger came on for the last 20 minutes of their League Two match, hitting the post from long range.
"We believe him to be capable of coping with the situation - that's a really big part," Tisdale told BBC Devon.
"The reason he's been elevated and he's accelerated into the first-team squad is because physically he can cope."
Sparkes has been given the number 31 shirt, because his wages are being paid by members of Exeter's '1931 Fund' - made up of about 70 fans who each pay £19 per month to help pay for a player.
"He's got a long way to go yet, but it was a lovely start and another one through the academy," added Tisdale.
"It's not just the technical and physical aspect, it's an ability to cope with the stress and the pressure in the appropriate way."