Castleford Tigers coach Ian Millward feels the club’s hooker Daryl Clark could become as good as former Man of Steel and England star James Roby.
Millward has admired the 18-year-old’s skills during pre-season training at the PROBIZ Coliseum and has seen a definite resemblance to the brilliant player he nurtured at St Helens.
Clark, who caught the eye with his pace and elusive style after debuting in February, was the subject of much interest from Super League rivals before committing his long-term future to his hometown club by signing a five-year deal.
And Millward said: “I have been very impressed with him.
“He reminds me a lot of James Roby and, at the same age, he’s probably out in front because he’s an out-and-out hooker whereas James was more of a half-back. Physically, Daryl is also probably a little stronger than James at the same age, too.
“He’s going to have errors and vulnerability in him because of his age but I’m really excited by him.”
Millward is expected to hand Clark the No 9 jersey in 2012, which is a significant move given the club also have ex-captain Ryan Hudson and England Academy captain Adam Milner as other hookers on their books.
“I’ve been impressed with Adam too,” he said.
“He comes with a different tempo and style and both are competing very well.
“It’ll be interesting to see how we use all three of them, Ryan, as well, as he brings experience and toughness.”
Clark, who scored seven tries, came off the bench in all but one of his 18 Super League appearances last season, often terrorising defences. He quickly endeared himself to the Tigers faithful with a stunning cover tackle on Steve Menzies, and is tipped to evolve in the same manner as Roby – one of the world’s best.