Joey Barton says Fleetwood keeper Billy Crellin could rise to the top

Billy Crellin kept his first senior clean sheet for Fleetwood in the FA Cup win at Barnet
Billy Crellin kept his first senior clean sheet for Fleetwood in the FA Cup win at Barnet
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Joey Barton says young Fleetwood Town goalkeeper Billy Crellin could become a full England international.

READ MORE: Barton praises Fleetwood's professionalism at Barnet
Crellin kept a clean sheet in the 2-0 win at Barnet in the FA Cup on Sunday – only his second senior appearance for the club.

The 19-year-old has again been called up to the England Under-20s squad ahead of their fixtures against Portugal and Iceland.

Asked just how far Fylde coast native Crellin can progress, Barton said: “It’s a tough question. It’s a case of getting the key stage of development right but I think he can do whatever he wants to do in the game.

“I don’t want to heap a load of pressure on a young 19-year-old keeper, but if he keeps progressing at the rate he has been he can go right to the very top.

“There are a lot of young keepers out there and you look at the calibre of the keepers ahead of him in the England set-up. We’ve got some good young English goalkeepers.

“If Bill keeps progressing he could challenge them boys and become a full international because he does have the potential.”

The Town head coach had intended to play Crellin in tomorrow’s EFL Trophy tie at home to Oldham Athletic instead of the FA Cup match but his England selection forced a rethink.

Barton said: “Bill’s been out on loan (at National League Chorle), he’s acquitted himself at that level and Barnet are a conference side. I thought he showed what a first-class goalkeeper he can be for our football club.

“He should take enormous confidence. He goes away with England now and then comes back into the mix, and hopefully he starts to push Alex (Cairns) hard for the number one jersey.