LITTLE Oakley manager Matt Carmichael believes the “sky is the limit” for derby-day hero Greg Rodger.

The talented 17-year-old notched both goals in Monday’s 2-1 success at arch rivals Harwich and Parkeston.

He produced a cool finish to put his side ahead in the Thurlow Nunn League first division south contest and then pounced to grab a second-half winner, after Jordan Heath’s penalty for the Shrimpers.

Carmichael says Rodger has maturity “beyond his years” and all the tools to carve out a successful football career.

“Greg took both goals very well,” said the Acorns boss, whose side finish their campaign with a home match against Newbury Forest on Saturday.

“People might say the first came from a defensive mistake but he still showed so much composure in front of goal. It was fantastic.

“A lot of players would have got a chance like that and smashed it.

“But he went round the keeper, took another touch and then found the corner of the net – all on his weaker foot.

“It wasn’t easy but that’s the confidence he’s got.

“As a player, he shows maturity way beyond his years and, technically, he’s fantastic.

“I’ve got so much hope for him.”

Carmichael believes Rodger will only improve and says the wide man will benefit from being part of Oakley’s new Academy, which has been set up in partnership with AFC Sudbury.

“It means he’s going to be training full time, so will only improve,” said the Acorns boss.

“I think we can mould him into a top, top player and if he’s patient and waits for his opportunities, the sky’s the limit for him.

“In three or four years, with the right development, he could really push on and become a top, top player.

“He’s one of the best players I’ve ever worked with at that age.

“Whatever ingredients you need to play at a decent standard, he’s got.

“Now he needs to keep working hard, knuckle down and keep working on the aspects of his game that let him down.

“Hopefully then we can get the full benefit of him over the next two or three years.

“If he’s sensible, he could have a really good career – non-league or even higher.”