GOALKEEPER Steven Benda could be the next in a long line of ex-Swindon Town loan players that go on to play in the Premier League, according to manager Richie Wellens.

The County Ground outfit has been blessed with an array of top talent over the years – players such as Michael Carrick, Shay Given and James Milner have enjoyed loan spells at SN1 before going on to make it at the highest echelon of English football.

And while Wellens says his young goalkeeper has a long way to go before he is regularly leading a top-flight club out as their number one, the Town boss is confident that with hard work and a continued willingness to learn, it is much more than a possibility.

He said: “Steven Benda has got a chance at playing at the top level.

“If you look at Peter Schmeichel – probably the best goalkeeper there’s ever been – when he signed for Manchester United it was mistake after mistake from him.

“Fabien Barthez signs for United, mistake after mistake. You see new goalkeepers come in all the time and it’s the same thing. Even David De Gea struggles at times.

“Steven is 21-years-old, but he’s excelled way quicker than we thought he would.

“Is he going to make mistakes? Absolutely. Do we support him as long as he tries to do the right thing? Absolutely.

“I’ve been really pleased and surprised with how quickly he’s adapted.”

The 21-year-old is on a season-long loan from Swansea City and has impressed during his initial 10-game stint in league and cup, keeping three clean sheets in Town’s five game winning run in League Two.

And Benda was integral to that record continuing on Saturday as Wellens’ men held onto a 1-0 lead against Mansfield Town – given to them by Eoin Doyle – courtesy of three excellent saves from the German.

But it was Swindon’s only win in midweek so far this season that was most noteworthy for Wellens as Benda passed a test in which he had never been asked to take before.

Wellens said: “We played against Stevenage when we were holding on and it was windy.

“He’s never played in those conditions before. When it’s windy at under-23 level it gets called off.

“Steven has never played in that environment, so when he came off and he’d made a couple of mistakes, we asked him if he was okay.

“He said: ‘I’ve never played in those conditions before’, but he dealt with it well.

“It helps that he’s 6’5” and when he jumps he could probably slam-dunk a basketball, but he’s big, he’s composed and he’s German, so he’s efficient.”