Leyton Orient ‘have a talent’ in teenager Sam Dalby says team-mate Michael Collins
- Credit: Archant
17-year-old marked full debut for O’s with first professional goal after just four minutes on Boxing Day
Leyton Orient midfielder Michael Collins believes the Brisbane Road club have a special talent on their books in Sam Dalby.
The 17-year-old marked his first start for O’s with the opening goal in their thrilling 3-2 win over Crawley Town on Boxing Day.
Boss Andy Edwards showed his faith in the teenager by playing him in such an important League Two fixture and the decision paid off.
Collins said: “It is always nice to see a young lad come through and I’ve seen enough of ‘Dalbs’ now to know the club has a real talent on their hands.
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“It is a case of managing him and credit to the gaffer for throwing him in because we’re in a situation where we are up against it and he has obviously got enough faith and belief in Sam and what a lift that must be for a 17-year-old.”
Collins, who also had a key role in the Boxing Day victory, admitted he couldn’t believe how young Dalby was when he first asked him.
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The academy striker got his first taste of senior football on August 30 when then-boss Andy Hessenthaler introduced him during their EFL Trophy match with Stevenage.
Edwards demonstrated his belief in Dalby by bringing him on at Wycombe Wanderers on December 17 and showed it again by handing him a start for the visit of Crawley.
It was a dream debut for the forward who around two years ago was playing for Buckhurst Hill boys and the Orient players will make sure he stays grounded.
Collins added: “I did ask Sam his age recently and I was stunned when he told me. I thought he was about 21! I’m delighted for his family and him to go in there, have no fear and make that type of impact.
“Credit to Sam because he was in the right place at the right time and that is the sign of a great striker. We won’t get carried away with him. We’ll keep him down to earth, but it is just great to see a young local lad come through.”
Dalby may have taken the plaudits for Orient, yet Paul McCallum’s performance showed why it is hard to justify leaving him out of the team.
The former West Ham United striker scored his first goal after 11 minutes and added another from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time to take his tally for the season to nine goals in all competitions.
McCallum was excellent during the first half when O’s were cruising, but it was after the break when he really caught the eye.
Whenever Crawley were ramping up the pressure, the 23-year-old would find a way of winning cheap free kicks and, in the process, help Orient take a breather.
Collins added: “I think ‘Macca’ is great. He is such a character and in every dressing room you come across people that if you were to write a book, they would definitely get a mention. He is one of them.
“He is a good lad to have up front with ‘Dalbs’ because he’ll always help him through and they worked really well together.
“Both were dangerous and sharp and it bodes well for us that they got the goals. I thought Gavin Massey was a real handful first half and our outlet in the second, so massive credit to him.”