PLAYMAKER Aneurin Owen has been tipped for a breakthrough year at the Dragons by boss Dean Ryan.

The Rodney Parade region have long been excited about the 19-year-old from Newport but he is yet to make his professional debut.

Owen has developed with Ebbw Vale in the Premiership, been a key figure for Wales Under-20s and been put on a tailored conditioning plan to ensure the former fly-half has the physicality to slot in at 12.

Now director of rugby Ryan is ready to encourage the ball-playing centre to challenge for the spot outside fly-half Sam Davies.

The director of rugby played alongside Jonny Wilkinson and Alan Tait and has worked with Felipe Contepomi, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen and Henry Paul but, and he is not one prone to hyperbole, declares Owen "is probably the best at playing flat that I have seen."

And with the Dragons boasting Nick Tompkins, Jonah Holmes, Ashton Hewitt and Jordan Williams as their options out wide, Owen's distribution could lead to opportunities after a move for ex-Australia centre Joe Tomane hit the buffers.

South Wales Argus:

"Aneurin has a great future ahead of him," said Ryan. "We've talked a lot about exciting youngsters like Taine Basham and others who got their first experiences in the PRO14 and are on the fringes of the Welsh squad, but Aneurin is somebody who I have been incredibly impressed by.

"He has trained with us all year in the first-team environment and gone on to play for the Under-20s but I am really excited about how he goes on to take that next step in the PRO14.

"We've got to be cautious because we have to do it at the right time but I would be surprised if we haven't seen a lot of Aneurin by the end of this year."

READ MORE: Young gun Owen inspired by England ace Farrell

Owen will aim to put the pressure on the more experienced Jack Dixon, Adam Warren and Connor Edwards for the 12 jersey and will profit from the arrival of Tompkins.

The Wales international will spend the next year with the Dragons on loan before returning to Saracens.

A hectic Test schedule will limit the amount of appearances Tompkins makes at club level but Ryan believes the Six Nations star will prove his worth on the training pitch in Ystrad Mynach.

South Wales Argus:

"It's a great opportunity to have someone like Nick Tompkins around Aneurin," he said.

"People talk about the value of Nick but if you are Aneurin Owen then this is a crucial year and it will be an enormous help to play alongside somebody with that experience.

"That's where the value of Nick comes, when you see the growth of Aneurin over the next 12 months."

The Dragons are back in training ahead of the scheduled PRO14 return on August 22.

They travel to the Ospreys and then host the Scarlets before facing Bristol away in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup on the weekend of September 19. All games are likely to be behind closed doors.