Watford youth coach Dave Hughes described Luke O'Nien as a "credit to the Academy" after the 19-year-old led a young Watford side to a 3-0 win over Potters Bar in the Herts Senior Cup on Thursday night.
An inexperienced Hornets XI, which included a handful of Under-16s as well as first and second-year scholars, booked their place in the third round thanks to Kurtis Cumberbatch's opener and a Michael Folivi brace.
O'Nien, who was captain on the night, was the only professional in the starting line-up and Hughes praised the midfielder's attitude and performance.
“I thought Luke O’Nien was a credit to the Academy,” Hughes told the official club website.
“His application tonight and his leadership skills were obvious, and his longer passing was hugely evident, which was great because of the surface.
“Credit goes to him as a person for his application and attitude, and for trying to make sure the Under-16s were aware and had an understanding of the situation.
"He guided them fantastically well."
The tie had been called off several times due to the weather and the pitch proved a challenge for the young Golden Boys.
Hughes however was delighted with his team's performance and the way they adapted to the conditions.
“Weren’t they brilliant?” Hughes said. “I thought they were excellent in every aspect of their play.
“For the Under-16s to come in and perform the way they did and deal with the situation, the pitch, and playing against men, which they won’t have experienced before, was a real learning curve for them."
Hughes also reserved special praise for a member of the non-playing staff.
The youth team boss singled out conditioning coach Pete Sharpe, who he said deserved great credit for the side's physical resilience.
Hughes added: “I also think huge praise must go to Pete Sharpe the conditioning coach.
"His detail in making sure the lads are going through their specific and individual programmes is important for their long-term conditioning and physical development. The detail of planning is vital.
“Credit goes to Peter for making sure what happens on the training pitch allowed the lads to perform to the level they did tonight for 94 minutes.”
Watford now face Boreham Wood in the third round.