New St Helens signing James Bentley has been tipped to reach the top by one of his current coaches.
Bradford Bulls’ head of youth John Bastian has overseen the development of the talented back-rower and played a key role in his progression to the Bradford first-team this season.
Bentley will leave the Bulls and make the move to Super League next season after a breakthrough campaign at Bradford, scoring 15 tries in 22 appearances so far this season.
With his stay at Odsal nearing an end, Bastian has backed the youngster to become an international player in the future.
“I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind that he would go to the top,” Bastian said.
“Obviously we wanted that to be with the Bradford Bulls, but due to the circumstances at the club, he will now be able to do that with St Helens.
“He’s got a superb attitude with regards to how he applies himself in training. I’ve never seen a player of his age do so many extras after training than James Bentley, and that’s been a big benefactor in his development.
“He’s got every chance of being a top-line Super League forward and I wouldn’t put it past him being an international forward in four or five years time. He can achieve whatever he wants to achieve. He’s going to have some quality coaches around him.“
Bentley has showcased his talents throughout the year in a struggling Bulls side and Bastian believes he’ll only get better.
“You can see how far he’s developing as a young leader,” Bastian said.
“He’s got a bit to go, but he’s a certainly a strong character and he’s very focused in what he wants to achieve and where he wants to go, and I can only see him getting stronger over the next several years.
“I think first and foremost his work ethic is a strength. He prepares particularly well. He plays high energy, he’s a very good running and passing game for a back-rower and he can put some good shots on defensively too. He’s also a good bloke who you want to play four.
“He’s just a really good athlete, and that will only get better as he gets older.
“He has the attributes of many other players in Super League. But as an overall package, I think he’s quite unique and he will carve his own career.”