After netting five goals in the FA Youth Cup third round, Felipe Rodriguez-Gentile was understandably left very proud of his performance.
At just 16 years of age, the Brazilian forward has made an occasional appearance for the U19s in league action, but he was given the nod to start at Deepdale against Rotherham United on Friday afternoon.
He certainly took his chance, netting a hat-trick before half-time – his third being an incredible strike from 25 yards – and he then went on to add another two in the second half.
Speaking to iFollow PNE after the game, Felipe said: “When I scored the hat-trick to make it 3-1, I was just running around.
“I didn’t know what to do. It was a very good experience.
“I thought maybe I would come on for the last ten minutes, maybe I’ll assist.
“I thought I was not even going to come in, but then I got a call this morning saying I was going to start and my head was spinning, but I just played my best and did that, so I’m very happy.
"It's very good, especially after this game because it’s the biggest game I’ve ever played so, to perform like that, I feel very proud of myself."
Having turned 16 a couple of months ago, Felipe has already agreed a deal which will see him become a scholar in the summer.
That at least seals his future for the next two years, and his journey to arrive at Preston North End is very different to most in the Academy’s current set-up.
“I moved to England three years ago,” he said.
“I was playing grassroots and then Covid came in so I didn’t play much football, and then when football came back I started playing grassroots.
“Then I got picked up by this amazing club, and then [I’ve been] just scoring goals and looking forward, so I’m very happy to be at this club.
“I can’t wait for the future. I can’t wait to come into Preston next year and play every day; that’s my dream, so I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Felipe’s performance against the Millers certainly did his chances of featuring more regularly no harm, but it wasn’t just the Academy coaches who he impressed.
Manager Ryan Lowe and his management staff were in attendance at Deepdale, and the gaffer was waiting down the tunnel after the game to have a word with the young Brazilian.
Felipe said: “I wasn’t aware [he was here]. I saw him in the side of my eye and I said ‘I’ve got to perform now, this is a big game’, so then I got my head down, got to work, and happily scored some goals.
“He gave me the ball and said to keep it and get everyone to sign it.
“I’ve never had a ball to myself so it’s very emotional.”