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Dean Smith tips Rico Henry for big future

Dean Smith praises the desire of Rico Henry and suggests that the youngster is destined to earn a call-up to the England Under-19s side.

Walsall manager Dean Smith has claimed that Rico Henry is currently the best left-sided Englishman in his age group.

The 18-year-old, who came through the Saddlers' youth ranks, penned a new deal at the club earlier this month.

Having tied Henry down for another three years, Smith hailed the impact made by the youngster to date after seeing him crowned the Football League Young Player of the Month for September.

"I can honestly say there was never any risk in my mind with Rico," he told BBC Sport. "He was 16 when I threw him in against Leeds in a pre-season friendly. And he's a quick learner. You give him a bit of information and he takes it on board.

"He fully deserves the award as he's been excellent. If I were to liken him to anyone it would be a young Ashley Cole. And it's up to him how far he can now go in the game. I've recommended him a couple of times to the England Under-19s because, if there's a better left-sided player in the country at 18 years of age, I'd like to see them.

"That's probably me being a little bit biased because I know the kid and what he has to offer. He's got a great desire and a will to win. His attitude and application to everything he does is spot on."

Henry has made 12 appearances for Walsall in all competitions so far this season.

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Callum McManaman of West Brom holds off Rico Henry of Walsall during the Pre-Season Friendly between Walsall and West Bromwich Albion at Banks' Stadium on July 28, 2015
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