Fleetwood’s young keeper Billy Crellin is being tipped for big things by Joey Barton.
The 19-year-old played the final half-hour of the 1-0 win over Preston last Friday night and got a great ovation when he came on.
As things stand, he will be the main competition for Alex Cairns this season after Paul Jones’ release in the summer.
Crellin has made one first-team appearance for Fleetwood, that coming in the EFL Trophy.
“There is nothing more pleasing to see lads coming out of the academy,” Barton told the Gazette.
“Billy Crellin playing 30 minutes against Preston was pleasing, he’s a Fleetwood boy and has got the England youth international attachment to him.
“We have to keep a pathway open to players like him.
“Alex Cairns knows he will have an exciting young player pushing him, that is good for the club.”
Crellin had a brief spell on loan at FC United early last season but was recalled to continue his development at Poolfoot Farm.
Barton said: “Billy is someone who I have seen develop enormously since I’ve been at the club along with a number of other young players.
“He is someone who potentially could be an England number one.
“A boy from here and playing for Fleetwood who became an England international would be a great story, testament to the hard work and dedication of Andy Pilley and the team here.
“I know there is the Jamie Vardy story but if ever a story would top that it would be the Billy Crellin one.
“We have to be mindful of getting his development right, I see that as an enormous responsibility for us as a coaching team.
“Billy knows what we think of him and he is developing nicely under David Lucas.”