You Winston, you lose some
English Barclays Premiership
From Dulwich Hamlet to a Dutch international - Dave McEwen faced his toughest test as a professional footballer on Tuesday night.
The young striker who first caught the eye playing locally for Crouch End Vampires stumbled across an opponent with plenty of bite - none other than former Ajax, AC Milan and Barcelona defender Winston Bogarde.
Capped 19 times by Holland, Bogarde was the last arrival at Chelsea under the management of Gianluca Vialli having joined on a free transfer from Barcelona on August 31.
A European Cup winner at Ajax Bogarde, 29 and an imposing 6ft2ins, has yet to play for Chelsea but turned out for Blues' second string in the FA Premier Reserve League encounter at the Lane. Naturally he looked a class act and helped organise a defence that came under all sorts of pressure from Chris Hughton's men before nicking a late winner.
Despite all that McEwen, with one substitute appearance in the Premiership under his belt, led the line admirably.
"It was a great experience," he said afterwards. "Of course he was a lot stronger and I found it a bit difficult at times because he shouldered me off the ball but it's great to play against that quality of player.
"It will definitely help my development. You have to work that much harder against the better players. It can't be bad for me."
McEwen was just disappointed that the reserves' first outing at the Lane ended in defeat. "I thought we did very well for 20 minutes but then we conceded a goal from a great free-kick and that took the sting out of us," he added.
"We played well in the second half, had a lot of pressure but couldn't capitalise on the balls from wide positions. There were plenty of quality crosses but we couldn't get on the end of them. That's something to work on.
"It was great to play at White Hart Lane though, obviously completely different from St Albans. You should always try to gee yourself up for games but it was different class playing out on the main pitch. I thoroughly enjoyed it - apart from the result."