Rochdale boss Brian Barry-Murphy hailed the “special talent” of Kwadwo Baah after his goal laid the platform for the 5-0 victory at League One strugglers Wigan.
The 17-year-old forward, who came through the ranks at Crystal Palace before dropping into non-league, showed his quality with an unstoppable strike which got Dale on their way at the DW Stadium.
Barry-Murphy acknowledged he has a player on his hands who can do some damage at this level.
He said: “He’s a very special talent, he’s going to attract the headlines – and rightly so because he’s a very dangerous player.
“He’s had a lot of difficulties to deal with, his journey has been different to a lot of the other Academy graduates.
“He dropped out of the game, came back into the game, but he’s got a good family round him and he’s a good player to watch.
“In very simple terms, if I was coming to the game I would enjoy watching him.”
Not that this was a one-man show, with Rochdale head and shoulders above their opponents across the board from start to finish.
Barry-Murphy added: “It was a great performance, the lads played very well and we looked very potent.
“There’s been loads of things thrown at us this season and we’ve had to battle some difficult circumstances but we’ve shown what we’re made of.”
After Baah struck with the first chance of the game, Matthew Lund doubled the advantage after 19 minutes with a free header from six yards.
The only surprise was that it took until just before the hour mark for Rochdale to underline their superiority with a third goal, which arrived when Stephen Dooley cut in from the right-hand side before beating Jamie Jones at his near post.
Alex Newby made it 4-0 after 64 minutes from the penalty spot after Darnell Johnson was rather harshly penalised for a foul on Stephen Humphrys.
Wigan had to wait until stoppage time for their first real opportunity, with defender Tom James having a header cleared off the line by Rochdale skipper Eoghan O’Connell.
But there was still time for Rochdale to cap a five-star performance with the icing on the cake, Newby firing into the far corner of the Wigan net.
Wigan’s acting manager Leam Richardson said: “On the back of a good month when most things have gone our way, we never really recovered after the first goal went in.
“We managed to get to half-time but conceding so early in the second half, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for us.
“I thought Rochdale were fantastic to be fair. They sat in, waited for our mistakes and they exploited them, so fair play.
“In terms of are we lacking a bit of depth and quality? Possibly.
“But in terms of effort and endeavour, they could not be giving me any more.
“They were still battling right the way to the end and fair credit to them for that.”