Fabio Tavares says it was a proud moment to make his first EFL start at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
The Rochdale Academy graduate has started in two Leasing.com Trophy games and made his EFL debut as a substitute already this season.
He was handed a starting spot at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, and wants to try and keep his place in the team.
“It was a big moment for me,” said Tavares.
“I didn’t think it would happen so quick, but I’m really happy that Brian [Barry-Murphy] showed faith in me. I’ve been working hard to try and get onto the pitch, so I’m really happy that I got my first start.
“I’m young, but I just need to keep working hard in training and hopefully I’ll keep making more appearances.
“In training I’ve been watching Ian Henderson and how he does things. I’ve been trying to see what I can add to my game. He’s been helping me and making it a lot easier for me.
“He’s a man that I look to in the team. He’s a goal scorer, so I’m trying to see what tips I can learn from him.”
Dale trailed 3-0 at half-time, but two goals from Henderson in the second-half brought Barry-Murphy’s side back into it, and they could have taken at least a point from the game.
Tavares was denied his first Dale goal by a stunning save from Dons’ stopper Nathan Trott in that second period.
“I thought I was going to score my first professional goal! It wasn’t meant to be, the goalkeeper made a great save, but I still think I should have scored.
“We knew the first-half performance wasn’t really a good one from us. But in the second-half we had a good comeback, scoring two goals.
“We thought we were going to get something from the game but it wasn’t meant to be. We’re a bit downbeat, but happy with the way we played in the second-half.”
Tavares and fellow first-year professionals Lewis Bradley and Harrison Hopper have been named in matchday squads in recent weeks, and the forward says they’re enjoying the experience.
“We’re making the most of every moment. We’re training hard to get a spot in the team and make appearances when the team needs us. We’re enjoying it.”