15 years and 99 days – that’s the age Mason Bennett made his Derby County debut on Saturday at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesborough. He is the Rams youngest ever player, breaking Lee Holmes’ record back on Boxing Day 2002 when he was 15 years and 268 days. Holmes is now at league leaders Southampton. Young striker Bennett is also a England under 16 international and he also played for the under 17 side.
He was born on the 15th July 1996 and is from Shirebrook in Derbyshire. Mason plays regularly for the Derby under 18 side and even played for Derby’s reserves at the age of 14 ! Could you imagine playing for Derby at this level at the age of 15 ? No I’m sure not !
It has been reported Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool are keeping an eye on him. In August he was an unused Rams substitute against Shrewsbury at Pride Park in a Carling Cup tie. That was under a month after his 15th Birthday. Derby manager Nigel Clough considered playing him for the first team in a mid-week match at Reading. In the end Bennett was not picked because the Derby team were to arrive home at 2am in the morning and Mason had school that day.
In his first team debut he even hit the cross-bar and Nigel Clough described his debut as ‘a very mature debut’. On the morning of the match Derby’s Academy staff drove him to the game as he could not travel with the squad. A week earlier he starred for the England under 16 side against Northern Ireland and scored two goals.