THE saying 'Every cloud has a silver lining' could not be more true of Benny Couto's introduction to the Latics first team.

Injuries - notably to recognised left backs Sam Hart and Alan Sheehan - meant Keith Curle was low on numbers and options for the opening Papa John's Trophy group game at home to Salford City last month.

A star was born, with Couto impressing on not only his full debut but also playing a full game, leading to his first Football League start at Rochdale on Saturday.

He is likely to keep his place against Leeds United Under 21s tonight.

And Davis Keillor-Dunn is impressed with the way the 17-year-old has taken it all in his stride.

"Massive shout out to Benny, I thought he was excellent," said the attacking midfielder, who scored the winner from the youngster's throw-in on Saturday.

"He just looks like he has been playing a while to be fair to him.

“That’s what you want. Don’t get ahead of yourself, get your head down, keep working he’s and do the right things and hopefully if he keeps putting performances in like that he has got a great career ahead."

And head coach Keith Curle praised the youngster - a second year scholar the club - for the impact that he had on the game against Rochdale too, alongside debutant Harrison McGahey.

"Harrison coming back in, Benny Couto making his (league) debut, having something like a shape to work from that we're comfortable with helped us," said Curle.