Lee Bowyer singled out the youth in his side for praise despite Charlton’s 3-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

With a mountain of injuries, illness ruled out a further two senior players from Bowyer’s squad for the early kick-off at The Valley, meaning the Addicks boss could only name five players on the bench.

Registering an assist on his first full league debut, from an unfamiliar position, Alfie Doughty put a showing in that had the Charlton boss purring and the home fans chanting, ‘he’s one of our own.’

Josh Davison and James Venning’s both made appearances from the bench in the second half but it was 19-year-old Academy product Doughty who was drafted in to start for the sick Ben Purrington who got the manager talking.

“Alfie Doughty was outstanding and he’s not a left back,” Bowyer said.

“He had to fill in and he was outstanding, defensively and attacking.

“He was playing at Bromley two weeks ago and now he’s playing against Sheffield Wednesday, against top wingers as well.

“Sheffield Wednesday’s wingers are as good as any others in this division.”

Doughty has come off the bench in the previous two encounters, the 2-2 draw against Cardiff and the 2-1 midweek defeat at Luton, before making his full debut at The Valley against an experienced Wednesday team.

Bowyer had felt his youngsters weren’t ready to start a league match, but with matchday morning drop-outs his hand was forced.

Asked if he now felt Doughty was ready to be a regular starter, the Addick’s boss replied.

“Yes, he’s just shown that, he was excellent, you can’t fluke what he’s done there.

“But you have to be careful because they can blow up.

“If they make a mistake it’s how they handle that.

“Today we had no choice, but would I trust him to play again, yes.

“Everything  I saw from Alfie today was positive.”

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As for 19-year-old James Vennings:

“He’s only a kid who’s played ten under23 games!” Bowyer continued.

“He’s come on and did himself no harm, competing, challenging, didn’t give the ball away.

“It’s great for our football club, great experience for them today.”