(Reuters) – Brighton & Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly must be wrapped in cotton wool following a whirlwind few weeks for the teenager, his manager Graham Potter said on Thursday.
Connolly scored twice as Brighton stunned Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the Premier League this month and the 19-year-old made his debut for Ireland on Saturday.
“Aaron has had quite a few weeks. We have to look after him and make sure he has a long and successful career,” Potter told reporters ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.
Connolly became the first teenager to start a Premier League match for Brighton and entered the record books again as their first teenaged player to score in the competition.
“He was great for us in terms of his overall contribution to the team, for him to get the Ireland debut was fantastic too. I felt the performance against Tottenham was coming from what I was seeing every day from the group,” Potter added.
Brighton 14th in the league with nine points and face Villa, who are a place and a point below them, seeking a first victory over the promoted side at Villa Park.
Brighton midfielders Leandro Trossard and Solly March as well as defender Shane Duffy are available for selection after overcoming injuries.
(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)