Ron was predominantly an under-17 player last season, making 28 appearances for Jimmy Neighbour’s team, one for the under-19s and two for the reserves. Injuries and international call-ups fast-tracked the talented 17-year-old into Monday’s evening’s steep learning curve of marking two players proven on the world stage.
However, Colin Calderwood’s young side did not have time to get too uptight about the prospect of facing such opposition. Ron revealed that Colin kept the strong Arsenal line-up to himself until the last possible moment.
“On the way here we asked who was playing and he said no-one big — we later looked at the teamsheetÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦
“We saw who was playing about half an hour before the kick-off, there was no time for nerves.”
If ever there were a case for not being too distraught at a 4-0 defeat, giving such a youthful band of players the opportunity to measure themselves against a Premiership-quality line-up could be one of them.
“Satisfied with it because of the quality of players we were up against,” considered Ron. “I’ve never played against anyone like Bergkamp and Kanu before, they are good players.
“I think that team would survive in the Premier League. They are a good team who pass the ball well and we did as best as we can against them.
“We got into it in the second half, there is a big slope on the pitch, but we got into it and settled a bit more.”
So what was it like for a youngster learning his trade to be confronted with such an assignment?
“It was great, a good experience and I liked it. Now I can go back to the under-19s and marking younger boys my own age. But it was a great experience and I enjoyed it a lot.
“I’ve got to get up to that level, I know what it’s like now, we’re not going to play teams much better than that.
“I’m not too disappointed, I thought we could have scored a couple of goals though.”
By Richard Hubbard at Underhill
Ron Henry was an unused substitute for the under-19 side on Saturday — two days later he made his third full appearance for the reserves against Arsenal and was handed the duty of marking Dennis Bergkamp and Kanu.