Darrell Clarke: Liam Kinsella can be a leader for Walsall
Darrell Clarke reckons Liam Kinsella is ready to step up and be a leader at Walsall.
The 23-year-old midfielder handed the Saddlers a huge boost earlier this week when he signed a new two-year deal.
Kinsella, a product of the club’s academy, has made 89 first-team appearances since being handed his debut by Dean Smith in 2014.
Clarke sees the Republic of Ireland youth international as a key member of the team he wants to build at the Banks’s and now wants him to take added responsibility.
He said: “It is an opportunity for Liam to step up. There is only so long you can keep calling a player young.
“Liam fits into a more experienced category now, to be honest with you. I am sure he will be looking to kick on and improve as a player. I know he is a great lad anyway and he fits into the way I want to play.”
Kinsella is among several players Clarke wants to see demonstrate leadership qualities.
He said: “Across the sport, you don’t see enough leaders stepping up to the plate now.
“The academy systems we have now are producing better technical players, without a doubt, but they are not producing enough leaders, at least in my mind.
“Sometimes you have to look at a leadership group who lead by example. I see Liam as part of that.
“Doing things right every single day, on and off the pitch. I have numerous players who do that.
“I have signed a couple who I know do that. I want more players standing up to the plate in that sort of way.
“We will have a few experienced players but we are going to have a hungry, young squad.
“The players can learn quickly but there are a few of the boys in there who have had good experience now and are at an age when they need to step up.”
Former Walsall midfielder Joe Edwards has joined League Two rivals Plymouth. The 28-year-old was one of 11 players let go by Clarke last month.