PAUL Bodin has tipped youngster Aaron Oakley for huge things in the not-so-distant future, as he prepares to welcome the Swindon Town trainees back for pre-season.

Oakley, a giant six-foot five-inch centre-back, has already been part of the Welsh national development squad under the tutelage of Brian Flynn, and Bodin thinks he could feasibly find himself in Robins manager Paolo Di Canio’s first-team squad by the end of the current campaign.

That potential step up would represent yet another success for Town’s under-utilised youth development programme, and Bodin is certain Oakley has what it takes to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Lukas Jutkiewicz and Sean Morrison.

“I think he could be the next one who should impose himself,” he said.

“Maybe after six months in training full-time with us we could genuinely see a player who could get in the first team.

“We’ll certainly be pushing for him.The board and the club certainly know all about Aaron. I’ve given them reports on him and he is really the stand-out. Especially with his stature and his size and the fact he went into the Wales setup.

“He’s developing well and he’s certainly one for the future, but he must be given his opportunity at some stage.”

Bodin has played an instrumental role in Oakley’s embryonic career.

The former Welsh international effectively handed the starlet an international chance through his contacts in the game, and he was delighted Oakley took the opportunity with both hands.

“I recommended Aaron a year ago to Brian Flynn for the Victory Shield squad and unfortunately he broke his leg back then,” he said.

“But he’s come back and he’s fit and he’s strong and he’s one hell of a player.

“He’s six-foot five, he’s 16 years of age, Brian put him in on my recommendation as he’d never seen him and he was outstanding.

“I went down to Port Talbot to watch the game and he was unbelievable.

“He played with a lad who was at Manchester United and he was by far the better player.”

For now, though, Oakley will have to make do with playing his part in Bodin’s under 18 team at the County Ground.

And the Swindon legend can’t wait for the season to get going.

“I’m really excited about this year,” he said.

“We’ve got a great bunch this year and hopefully a few of them will make the grade.”