NEWPORT County academy graduate Lee Evans can and will be a Premier League player according to manager Justin Edinburgh.

The Exiles boss recalled the 18-year-old to his starting line-up for Saturday’s draw with Stockport and the teen produced a superb performance where he looked the most likely player to force a winner.

Already being scouted by several clubs, Evans is on track for the very top according to his boss.

“Lee is someone who is improving all the time, he’s a level-headed boy and all he’s interested in is playing football,” he said.

“Nowadays youngsters want all the other things that come with football – the lifestyle things – rather than concentrating on what is important, which is playing.

“He’s an exceptional talent and he needs to be nurtured as he’s only 18.

“But he was outstanding on Saturday and if he continues to put in performances like that, he’ll go a long, long way.

“He can go right to the top of the game, I genuinely believe that.

“I’ve seen it in him from the start. I picked him as a 17-year old at Wembley for the FA Trophy final and that says it all really.”

Evans was only too happy to hear of his manager’s praise but insists he’s focused only on staying in the County first team and helping the Exiles to as high a finish as possible.

“I feel like I can play at this level or higher, but every game in the Confer-ence is tough, it’s good players and very intense.

“It’s mostly Football League players who have dropped down or players like me looking to go up the levels and it’s very competitive, always a tough battle,” he said.

“I have heard what the gaffer has said about me and it’s nice to know he has faith in me.

“I owe him an awful lot. He’s the man who gave me my chance in the first team last year and he’s told me on a number of occasions that my age isn’t a factor to him.

“I want to perform for him and for the club. That’s all I focus on.”

Evans believes the current crop of other midfielders at the club is providing him with a first class education.

“I knew I had to put a good performance in on Saturday after being left out of the last two games,” he said.

“The competition for places in midfield is immense and it keeps you on your toes. We’ve got Jake Thomson, Mike Flynn, Max Porter and Lee Minshull who has barely got a kick yet this season.

“I know I have to keep working hard and hopefully take my chance to stay in the team every time I can.

“I pick up something from the other midfielders, they are all excellent players and every day in training I am learning something new.”

Evans was disappointed to only draw on Saturday, the Exiles being the better side against Stockport.

“We’ve got a point and would’ve liked more, there was a bit of tension beforehand with the boys because we wanted to get back on track if we’re honest,” he said.

“We’d have liked all three points but we just have to take the point and stay focused.”