The 19-year-old completed the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s draw against the Eagles and more than held his own against a Palace side that are challenging for promotion at the top of the table.
The young midfielder previously had a small cameo appearance to his name as a late substitute in the FA Cup win against Sheffield United at the start of the year. But for the lifelong Blues fan making his St. Andrew’s debut was extra special.
“I’m a massive Bluenose and that’s why it was such a good feeling playing,” he said.
“I found out (I was playing) at the same time as everybody else when they put the team sheet out. I think they considered telling me the night before but I’m not the best sleeper and if they had I probably wouldn’t have slept at all and would have come in absolutely shattered! I’m better when I don’t have to think about it. I want to stay in the team and hopefully I’ve done enough to stake a claim."
He was partnered in midfield by the vastly experienced Papa Bouba Diop who was making his Blues debut.
“He’s got a bit of muscle and he was my bodyguard,” joked the teenager. “He looked after me and was fantastic to me and I was really pleased he got a great goal.
“It was gut-wrenching when they (Palace) scored the two goals but when we scored our two goals and got the crowd going there is no better feeling. It was just disappointing that we didn’t go on to get the third goal because there was only one team in it at the end.”
Solihull-born Reilly joined the club’s academy at the age of eight and over the past 11 years has been keen to take in knowledge from a host of the Blues coaching staff.
“I’ve got to thank a lot of the coaches,” he said.
“Steve Spooner is one of the best coaches I could have had at the club and obviously there’s Richard Beale.
“Kevan Broadhurst was also a massive influence when I was with the under-15s and under-16s and I loved playing under him. He helped turn me into a player who really wants to work and get stuck into players. I just used to sponge as much information of Kevan as I could because he was captain at Blues at such a young age.”