Plymouth Argyle boss is determined to nurture talented Tyler Harvey
MANAGER Carl Fletcher knows there will be high expectations on 17-year-old striker Tyler Harvey after he scored on his full debut for Argyle against Torquay United on Boxing Day.
The Pilgrims apprentice netted a 90th-minute equaliser as the Devon derby ended in a 1-1 draw.
Not surprisingly, all the headlines were about Harvey after the game but Fletcher is confident he can take the attention in his stride.
The Argyle manager believes Harvey is in a good environment to continue his development as a player of considerable potential.
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Fletcher told Herald Sport: "In football at any level you have to manage fans' expectations.
"He's still only 17 so let's not get carried away. He has come in and done well in his first game.
"We will look after him. We have got good experienced lads in the changing room that keep his feet on the ground and will help him along.
"He kind of epitomised the whole team's performance against Torquay. It was great he came in and did well, but there were a lot of guys out there who did well."
Harvey made his full debut for Argyle in the Devon derby after two previous substitute appearances.
Fletcher was not surprised Harvey scored against Torquay or that he put in such a good all-round performance.
He said: "It was a case of getting someone out there who would do well for the team. That's why we went with Tyler.
"We knew he would make an impact with his enthusiasm and his workrate, and with his quality on the ball.
"He has been a regular scorer for the youth team so we had no doubts he would get chances and he took one of them."
Argyle captain Darren Purse – 18 years older than Harvey at the age of 35 – was very complimentary about the promising striker from Oreston.
He tweeted: "Congratulations to @tylerharvey_ on making his full debut & scoring too. Thoroughly deserved MOTM (man-of-the-match) as well. #goingtobeatopplayer."
Harvey has already agreed a professional contract at Argyle for when he comes to the end of his two-year apprenticeship in the summer.
He is one of a trio of talented Plymouth-born teenagers who have already made a mark at their hometown club.
Midfielder Luke Young, 19, and 18-year-old striker Matt Lecointe have also shown a lot of promise for the future.
All three of them are former Ivybridge Community College students.
Fletcher said: "We want to bring the young players through and we want them to do well for the club."
Another graduate of Argyle's youth set-up is defender Curtis Nelson, who arrived at Home Park at the age of 16 after being released by Stoke City.
He has gone on to make 81 first team appearances for the Pilgrims even though he is not 20 until May.
Fletcher believes it is important for Argyle, as a focal point of the local community, to give local talent a chance to shine.
He said: "I think it's great the local lads have come through the youth team. Nelse wasn't born here but has come through that direction.
"That's pleasing from our point of view. They are doing well and it shows promise for the future.
"They also know what this club means to people and the history of the club.
"Where we are at financially, we just can't go out and spend loads of money on players so you have got to produce your own."
Nelson has performed consistently for Argyle this season, either in the centre of defence or at right-back.
Fletcher has been pleased with the progress made by the former England under-18 international.
"He's doing well," said Fletcher. "He has got a lot of assets to his game.
"He's very athletic and good in the air so he's a threat in both boxes. He has got this long throw as well.
"His energy and enthusiasm to do well is pleasing. That's all you want from your players. The young lads have been pretty consistent this season."