Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi labelled teenager Jack Hinshelwood “Pascal Gross’ son” following his match-winning display in a 2-1 Premier League success over Brentford.
England Under-19 international Hinshelwood marked his first senior appearance at the Amex Stadium by heading the second-half winner, just seconds after making a crucial goal-line clearance to deny Yoane Wissa.
De Zerbi praised the maturity of the 18-year-old full-back as he likened him to stand-in Albion skipper Gross, who assisted the decisive goal, having cancelled out Bryan Mbeumo’s penalty.
“He played another great game,” the Italian coach said of Hinshelwood.
“He deserves to play now because he plays like an older player.
“Yesterday I said Jack is Pascal Gross’ son because he is very young but he plays like an older player.
“He has personality, he is very smart on the pitch, he can play full-back, midfielder in every position.”
Victory for eighth-placed Brighton was just their second in nine top-flight fixtures.
Sussex-born Hinshelwood, whose father Adam played 100 league games for Albion between 2002 and 2009, was making only his fifth top-flight appearance and first on home soil.
The academy graduate claimed his maiden first-team goal in the 52nd minute by powering home Gross’ looping cross from the left, having raced forward in the aftermath of preventing Wissa restoring the visitors’ lead.
He received a standing ovation when he was replaced 17 minutes from time before returning to the field at full-time to soak in the acclaim.
“It is an unbelievable feeling, it was my first game playing here at the Amex in front of all these fans,” Hinshelwood, who joined the club aged seven, told Amazon Prime.
“And it was a brilliant feeling to get a standing ovation when I came off. I am just delighted to get the win.
“The fans, players and manager have all shown great belief in me and I am just trying to repay them.”
Brentford goalscorer Mbeumo was forced off shortly before the break with a nasty-looking ankle issue, while his replacement Wissa was perhaps fortunate to escape a red card for raising his hand into the face of Billy Gilmour.
Bees boss Thomas Frank is awaiting an update on the severity of Mbeumo’s issue and played down the Wissa incident.
“He rolled his ankle, we will assess him tomorrow and then we will see the status of it,” the Dane said of his leading scorer.
Asked about Wissa, he replied: “I saw a player who holds the ball (Gilmour) and I saw a player who wanted to start quick and then I saw two players get a yellow card each.
“I know everyone will speak about red card or no red card – I think it was absolutely handled right by the ref.”