Paul Simpson was full of praise for Cumbrian teenager Jack Ellis for his display against Swindon Town.
The 18-year-old defender was called into the side amid an injury crisis at Brunton Park.
And Ellis impressed with a composed showing on the right of the back three against the Robins.
It was only a third senior outing for the youngster from Staveley near Kendal.
And Ellis has again shown why he is regarded as a top prospect at United.
“I think he’s a really strong lad, physically strong – he’s a really good athlete – and he’s got a really good temperament,” said manager Simpson.
“He just simplified his game. Basically he had two things in his mind that he needed to do in possession, and I thought he did it really well.
“There were a couple of times when it looked like he overhit a ball, but I’ll take the blame for that because I asked him to simplify his game just to help him get involved in it and get confidence from it.
“I thought his defensive work was really, really good, against a good forward line. Jonny Williams is a really good footballer, Harry McKirdy is a good footballer, Jacob Wakeling was a threat when he was on, Tomi Adeloye when he came on was a threat – and Jack stood up to the challenge.
“He’s certainly earned the right to play in the team with the way he’s gone about pre-season. Let’s see how he carries on.”
Ellis was handed a start with fellow central defenders Ben Barclay and Morgan Feeney sidelined.
The first-year pro will now have a strong chance of remaining in the Carlisle defence at Grimsby Town on Tuesday night.
Simpson said he had been keen to give the young Cumbrian his chance in the side, having given Ellis his first two senior outings at the end of last season.
He added: “In staff meetings, when we’re chatting about what are the options for it, you can try and look at different permutations, and I’m saying, ‘Look, it’s round peg in round hole – Jack Ellis is there’.
“He’s been excellent through pre-season and he deserves the opportunity.
“There’s no point having him in the squad or keeping him on a pro contract and him being around if we’re not going to throw him in.
“We probably have to accept that as a young player there’s going to be mistakes along the way. But we have senior players making mistakes. You have to deal with it.
“If we’re going to try and develop our own players, we’ve got to give them the chance.
“As much as that might be difficult for us because there might be a bump in the road for them, he’s done really well in this game – he’s been calm, defended well and covered round against a difficult forward line.”