Everton loanee handed debut at Bramall Lane...Head coach Jon Whitney was pleased with Matthew Pennington’s debut performance in Walsall’s 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United.
The 21-year-old centre-back, who joined the Saddlers on loan from Everton on 24th March, was handed a start in place of the injured James O’Connor.
And although the former England U19 international was unable to help Walsall record a positive result, Whitney was encouraged by his individual display.
"I was pleased with him,” said Whitney.
“It’s never nice to lose on debut but he did well. He did what we wanted him to do and he was competitive.
“He got on the ball and was very proactive going forward in the second half, even being an outlet for us at times.
“He did everything he could and that was exactly what we brought him in for."
First-half goals from Chris Basham and Billy Sharp gave United victory and condemned the Saddlers to just their second away league defeat of the campaign.
But Whitney insists his side will learn from the setback and come back a stronger team.
“Of course we were disappointed with the Sheffield United result,” Whitney added. “But we will reflect on it and it will make us stronger.
“Character is built from adversity and that result was a little bit of adversity. What we have got to do now is push on to make sure we stay in contention for a place in the top two.
“We are still upbeat. I said to the players we need to look at the result and come back into training and be dynamic.
“We don’t want people to be quiet. We want to hear their opinions so we can learn together as a group.
“You can’t win every game even though we try to win every game. Now we have to make ourselves hard to beat and get those three points at Oldham.”