Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff has praised the ability of 19-year-old midfielder Ellis Chapman and his ability to “get up to speed” in starting for the first team.
The Robins signed Chapman on a free transfer in October from League One side Lincoln City, where he made his debut at the age of 16, going on to make 31 appearances for The Imps.
Duff gave the 19-year-old his debut at The Jonny-Rocks Stadium on October 31, coming off the bench in a 2-1 win against Forest Green Rovers.
The midfielder then started against South Shields in the FA Cup, registering an assist in the 3-1 win.
Having played the full 90 minutes against South Shields, Chapman has started and played the duration of The Robins’ previous two league games against Carlisle United and Walsall.
But Duff isn’t surprised at the 19-year old’s ability to start for The Robins.
“Yeah he’s up to speed – he’s 19 years old – so it didn’t take him long to get up to speed,” said Duff.
“I think everyone’s seen the South Shields game was a perfect example of what he is, in terms of he can get on the ball. He’s six-foot three, he can run, he’s left-footed, he’s got a good range of passing, he’s got a good weight of pass.”
While Duff was full of praise for Chapman’s ability on the ball and going forward he understands there is still work to be done to improve defensively, as there would for many his age.
“The other side of the game is something he’s going to have to learn,” Duff added.
“I thought against Carlisle he was excellent. He got a whack in the face and ended up with stitches in his lip. Probably for 10 minutes was a little bit shocked but then came straight back into the game.
“Games like Saturday are games that he will learn from. We don’t need to teach Ellis how to pass the ball or how to manipulate a football. The other side of the game is what he’ll learn but he’s 19-years old so that’s not just him that’s any player.
“And where he’s playing on the pitch and the league he’s playing in, you have to be able to deal with the physicality and the attrition side of the game because it’s not all about the ball.
“An average game now with all the extra time last around 97/98/99 minutes. You’ve generally got the ball for a minute and a half so what are you doing for the other 90 minutes? And he’s done it really well!”