Beppe Sannino said in January it was his dream to hand Luke O’Nien his Watford debut. That dream became a reality on Saturday as the young midfielder replaced Daniel Pudil in the 88th minute at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets were 3-0 in front against the Tykes when O’Nien was brought on. He may not have had many minutes on the pitch but Sannino was pleased for the 19-year-old.
"I am happy for Luke because he gives us freshness and enthusiasm as a young player,” Sannino said.
"I don't like to throw young players on the pitch and expose them to trouble. For Luke it will be a good day because he made his debut but don't ask me if and when he will play again."
O’Nien has developed a reputation for being one of the club’s hardest workers and is often seen doing extra training on his own at London Colney.
It’s something that has impressed Sannino who praised the youngster’s “spirit of belonging” earlier in the season.
He said in January: "When I joined this club the spirit of belonging to Watford was important for me, even though I’m not British.
"And Luke, even though he is young, is like that. It is very satisfying to see him so strongly part of the club on and off the pitch.
"It’s like Lloyd Doyley for his long service. They are two players - one is young and the other is experienced - but they both represent something that all the players should have, they live their lives for Watford.”
Another player to make his Watford debut against Barnsley was defender Lucas Neill. The Australia captain joined the Hornets last month but had to wait for his first Hornets appearance.
He was brought on with seven minutes remaining on Saturday and speaking about the 36-year-old, Sannino said: "I am sure Lucas will give to us a lot, in terms of experience, when we call on him."