After scoring on Tuesday night for League 1 Bradford, it is clear that 18 year old striker Mason Bennet has a bright future ahead of him. The Englishman got his name on the score sheet against Crawley in a 3-1 win for the bantams at the Broadfield Stadium, this coming just 7 days after agreeing a loan move from parent club Derby.
Bennett was born in Derbyshire and consequently became a product of the Derby academy, which has since gained category 1 status. Mason made his first appearance for The Rams reserve squad at the tender age of just 14 before eventually making his full 1st team debut in a 2–0 defeat at Middleborough on 22nd October 2011. This ensured that he became Derby’s youngest ever first team player aged 15 years and 99 days old. The youngster, after being given his chance by manager Nigel Clough also very nearly made football history. As the ball dropped to him, Bennett struck the crossbar before Boro managed to clear. If he would have scored he would have become the youngest ever goalscorer in English professional football.
Bennett continued to flourish in the reserves and youth team. By now, Mason had already attracted the attention of several high profile clubs, such as Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. He did not have to wait too long for his first Derby goal either. On 5th January 2013, the striker came on as a sub in a 5-0 thumping of Tranmere Rovers at Pride Park in the FA Cup 3rd round. His 87th minute goal ensured he became the East Midlanders youngest ever goal scorer.
Records were being broken regularly by the England starlet who has now represented the three lions at under 16s and under 17s level. One of his most famous appearances also came in the FA Cup 3rd round, this time a year later at the iPro Stadium, (formally Pride Park) against Chelsea. Coming on as a substitute he gave Ashley Cole a torrid time on the wing, beating the former England full back at will.
However, due to Derby pushing for promotion last season, Bennett found appearances sparing and was loaned out to League 2 side Chesterfield. Notably he played for the Spirities at Wembley in the Johnston’s Paint Trophy final defeat to Peterborough. At the end of the season he then returned to Pride Park where he signed a new 4 year deal with Derby earlier this summer. Under Steve McClaren, Bennett once again could not be offered regular first team football this season at Derby and was subsequently loaned to Bradford as the rams seek to get Mason more experience.
There is no doubt Mason Bennett is amongst the finest English talent at the current moment. Bradford are already reaping the benefits of the quality in which the striker posses and Derby will be happy that they have tied down his contract should a bigger club become interested. For Mason he must concentrate on gaining experience of regular first team football before he returns to the East Midlands to fight for a place in the Derby squad.