Matt Bloomfield has revealed why he chose Richard Kone to start in Wycombe Wanderers’ EFL Trophy final 2-1 defeat against Peterborough United.

The young Ivorian played 75 minutes at Wembley Stadium as the Chairboys conceded two goals in the final five minutes in between equalising to miss out on winning the cup for the first time in their history.

In an end-to-end encounter, both sides had chances to score, which included Kone going close on a handful of occasions.

This included producing a cheeky chip inside the opening 10 seconds of the second period that just went over the crossbar.

Bloomfield said: “We were missing Bez Lubala with him being cup-tied and we played Richard against Portsmouth to get his minutes up [on Good Friday]. 

“He’s been in the building since pre-season but full-time since January, and we believe he’s going to have a big future.

“He’s made the jump up from step seven and a couple of months into full-time training, it looked like he had hit a brick wall as his energy levels were down.

“There’s a lot to adapt to when you make the jump up from step seven to senior football.

“We had to take him out of the firing line and bring him in again.

“We wanted to have a pressing strategy and I thought Richard would be that guy to cause Peterborough problems which he did.

“But he ran out of legs so we made a change to keep it fresh at the top.”

Going into the contest, Bloomfield admitted he wanted to have ‘selection headaches’ in all areas of the pitch.

This included deciding what centre back partnership he would go for with Chris Forino, Nigel Lonwijk, Ryan Tafazolli and Joe Low all being fit.

He chose Forino and Lonwijk who both put in a brilliant showing, despite only playing one match together this season.

This was in the 2-0 win over Northampton Town on March 16.

Bloomfield explained: “I thought the way Dale Taylor took his goal was brilliant, and with Freddie Potts and Nigel Lonwijk this season, we’ve had to use the loan market a lot and they were excellent today too.

“Chris Forino who also returned was excellent too, as I had to make several big decisions at centre half.

“Joe Low and Ryan Tafazolli have been brilliant for us since the start of this year [January 2024], but we felt it was right to go with the mobility with those two [Forino and Lonwijk], and they were excellent.

“There’s a lot to take away and it’ll take some time to digest it, but we haven’t got much time as we’ve got another big game against Derby on Wednesday.”