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Jack Panayotou Steps In For Injured Carles Gil: "For Some Of His First Big Time Minutes This Year, I Thought He Did A Good Job"
"Hopefully it’s a good experience for him and something that will benefit him moving forward.”
There were not a lot of positives for the New England Revolution but if Revs fans are trying to look for one, youngster Jack Panayotou received his first significant minutes with the first team since the beginning of May.
Panayotou had the tough task of replacing an injured Carles Gil early on in the Revolution’s 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union. At a moment’s notice, the 19-year-old needed to step in for the former MVP and try to help his team salvage what was a terrible start to the evening.
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While New England couldn’t bounce back, Panayotou received some valuable minutes and was able to record 32 touches while completing 12 of 20 passes. The midfielder also had three recoveries and created one chance.
While the stats leave a lot to be desired, there is no denying that MLS minutes are valuable for the youngster. Sometimes the only way to learn or improve, is to be thrown into the deep end in the early stages of a fierce game against rivals.
“[Panayotou] did OK,” head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena said. “Obviously, very challenging for him. [It was] his first game with significant minutes. I don’t even know how many games he’s played in previous to this. Hopefully it’s a good experience for him and something that will benefit him moving forward.”
Saturday night was Panayotou’s fifth appearance in MLS and his seventh with the first team in all competitions. While it might seem like a measly amount of games, it is impressive to see the youngster get this much playing time. Noel Buck made seven MLS appearances in his first season with the first team and Esmir Bajraktarevic made just three MLS appearances in his debut season.
Left back DeJuan Jones was impressed with how Panayotou performed in place of Gil.
“I thought Jack [Panayotou] did well,” Jones said. “He hasn't had that many minutes this year, but he's stepped up. He's getting some good pockets and finding some good areas. For some of his first big time minutes this year, I thought he did a good job.”
So while the lack of attack, poor defending, or rampant injuries will have Revolution fans concerned, they can at least take some solace in the fact that youngsters like Panayotou are playing meaningful minutes and gaining valuable experience. While the goals haven’t come yet, fans can see that a young player like the 19-year-old is growing out on the field.