Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton believes Wes Burns has all the attributes to play at a higher level if he keeps developing.
The 23-year-old netted his third goal of the season in Town’s 2-1 win against Shrewsbury Town at Highbury.
Burns beat three men and then converted a neat one-two with Paddy Madden to double Town’s lead after Madden had opened the scoring.
Barton said of Burns: “He is capable of it (scoring goals), that is the key.
“That goes to the coaching staff who have been working with him on when he gets in there, what sort of finishes he might be presented with.
“He has everything needed to be an elite level player if he pieces it all together which he is now doing.
“He will have up and down games because he is still a young man learning his trade.
“Wes has the ability to turn a game with a flash of absolute brilliance.
“The goal he scored is outstanding, you will struggle to see a better individual goal right through the football calendar.
“He shows everything; great first touch, speed, turning circle, then the awareness to find that bit of calmness and composure to pick a pass and get in the position.
“I think the one thing he has been guilty of in the past is not seeing that support player coming with him.
“Paddy Madden deserves a huge amount of credit for picking the weighted pass that Wes finishes.
“If Wes can get more consistent he can play easily at a higher level.”
Having seen his players take a two-goal lead, Barton was forced into a change when James Wallace went off injured with half-time approaching.
Striker Chris Long took his place but, after Shrewsbury halved their deficit through Josh Laurent, Barton sacrificed Long for Jason Holt.
He admitted sending on Long was the wrong decision but was happy with the substitute’s response to being taken off in the second half.
Barton said: “I didn’t like doing it but I felt it was the correct thing to do for the team.
“I know Chris will be gutted because he is a proud lad and I hope he understands.
“He is obviously disappointed in the dressing room.
“I will speak to him and explain why I did what I did.
“It was not personal, it was about us winning the game.
“He is a team man, he came off in the right manner.
“He showed respect for me and the group and we managed to see the game out so it helps if you get the three points.
“James won about 74 headers on the spin, then he just tweaked his hamstring.
“He is a key player, we have just got to start getting those 90 minutes out of him because if we do he has shown just what a force he can be for us.
“We were excellent in periods in that second half and if we get a settled side we will be a real force in this division.”