SCOTT Naylor says Oldham’s latest signing, former St Helens youngster Dave Eccleston, has the raw talent to potentially become a star of the future.
The 21-year-old winger, who joins Roughyeds’ on the recommendation of Saints reserve-team boss Ian Talbot, is said to be a strong winger who is keen to make a name for himself and progress up the ladder.
“Dave has signed a one-year contract and we’re looking forward to having him on board,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton.
Head coach Naylor added: “Dave has been at Saints since he was a young kid so he will have good habits and a good attitude.
“It’s been hard for him to break through at his home-town club because of all the talent they’ve got, so its time for him to move on, take a different route and seek an opportunity to play senior rugby week in and week out.
“He’s passed under the radar a little bit at Saints, but he’s a great prospect with loads of potential and it will be exciting to be working with young talent like that.”
From the age of eight Eccleston played at Blakbrook before signing for Saints on scholarship when he was 15 and then signing reserve-team forms two years later.
He was part of the Saints academy side that won the championship and went through the season unbeaten in 2016, after which he signed a reserve-team contract.
He scored seven tries in 12 appearances for the Saints second team last season as well as playing for a spell on loan at North Wales Crusaders.
An apprentice welder, he works for former St Helens’ pack ace Eric Chisnall.
Said Eccleston: “Having a full pre-season with new colleagues will be very beneficial.
“I know Dave Hewitt from our time together at Saints. We played together a few times even though he was in his second year of under-19s when I was in my first.
“Dave told me all about Oldham. He said it was a good club to join and then he sent me a text later to see if I had done it. He seemed as pleased as I was when I told him I had signed.
“He said there would be five of us travelling from St Helens so we’ll be able to pile into one car. I’m looking forward to what, for me, will be a fresh start.”
Sixteen players are now contracted for 2018, including five newcomers in Paul Crook, Luke Nelmes, Danny Rasool, Kyran Johnson and Eccleston.
Backs: Crook, Steven Nield, Rasool, Hewitt, Johnson, Eccleston.
Forwards: Adam Neal, Phil Joy, Danny Langtree, Gareth Owen, Nelmes, Craig Briscoe, Jack Spencer, Ben Davies, Kenny Hughes, Matty Wilkinson.