Walsall defender Mat Sadler has been impressed by young midfielder Alfie Bates.
The midfielder has started all of the last five games and scored his first professional goal in the 2-2 draw with Darlington on Saturday.
Sadler, who captained the side on Saturday, has praised the 18-year-old for his bravery and performances in recent weeks and is keen to help guide him through his first full season in the EFL.
“Alfie Bates is a fantastic example of someone who wants to do well for the football club and improve and impress,” Sadler said.
“He’s shown some real courage at times, getting on the ball and I don’t want to ignore that so I’ll reiterate to him how well I think he’s doing.
“The lad fires some balls out of play but then he gets straight back on the ball and tries to win it back and make another pass and that takes some courage. It’s my job, I’ll take it on to remind him how well I think he’s doing, it’s his first season in the Football League and he’s doing himself real justice so amongst all of this it’s about reminding people how much of an impact they can have and I think Alfie Bates is doing really well for himself.”
Walsall now turn their attention to the Leasing.com Trophy as they take on Forest Green Rovers tomorrow evening where a win will see them qualify for the round of 32 and Sadler admitted it’s the start of a big couple of weeks for the Saddlers.
“We play Forest Green on Tuesday night, an opportunity to go through in that group,” added Sadler.
“We then have two huge league games on the horizon, with a replay in amongst it, so we have to get ourselves up for that.
“We have to be prepared to make opportunities happen and be prepared to stick our faces and our bodies in front of the football to prevent it going in the back of the net.”
Walsall now turn their attention to the Leasing.com Trophy where they take on Forest Green Rovers where victory will ensure passage to the last 32.
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