CHERRIES head of youth Joe Roach described as “a good test” the chance for Tommy Barnes to pit himself against Belgium.
Roach was at Cliftonville to see Barnes in action for Northern Ireland under-15s against their Belgian counterparts on Monday.
The 14-year-old, who has been on Cherries’ books for two years, came on as a second-half substitute during Northern Ireland’s 3-0 defeat.
He is expected to feature when the two countries again lock horns in Newry tonight in the second of two invitation internationals.
Northern Ireland are managed by former Cherries star Steve Robinson and Barnes retained his place in the squad after impressing during two friendlies in Estonia earlier this month.
Roach told the Daily Echo: “It was a great experience for him. He came on for the last 25 minutes and acquitted himself well. He slotted in at the back, made a couple of good tackles and picked out two or three decent passes.
“It was a good test for him because Belgium do well at developing young players so it was a fantastic opportunity.
“Tommy is an aggressive defender who is technically very good. He has a good attitude and has slotted into the group quite quickly.
“Steve Robinson said he did very well against Estonia and he will probably have more time against Belgium in the second game which will be good for him as he will have a better idea as to how they play.
“We are delighted he has been given this opportunity and it helps promote the club. It is also credit to the coaches who have worked with him here.”