IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield striker Andy Waterworth hails impact of young teammate Paul Smyth

Linfield youngster Paul Smyth
Linfield youngster Paul Smyth

Linfield striker Andy Waterworth believes teenage teammate Paul Smyth has the world at his feet.

Smyth has blasted onto the Danske Bank Premiership scene this season with some blistering displays for the Blues.

Since making his debut in a County Antrim Shield win over Newington, the 18-year-old has emerged as a pivotal force in David Healy’s side.

A vital goal against Glentoran in a 2-1 victory at The Oval on Boxing Day instantly endeared Smyth to the club’s loyal fans.

This week the youngster signed a new long-term contract at Windsor Park, which will keep him tied to the club to May 2019.

And for Waterworth, it is rich reward for his impressive displays in the top flight.

“I am delighted for Paul to sign the new deal. He thoroughly deserves it,” Waterworth said.

“It is a great piece of business by the club, because clubs will be flocking around Paul now.

“He will be a wanted man, so to get him tied down to a long-term deal is great for Linfield.

“He has lifted everyone and his energy and enthusiasm is infectious. It rubs off on players.

“He is only 18, so we don’t want to heap too much pressure on his shoulders. He just has to keep doing what he is doing, and he will do fine.

“He has everything. He is so quick, he can hit a ball, he can tackle and he can take a knock. He is fearless,” Waterworth added.

“He ticks all the boxes.”

Linfield will be looking to bounce back from their County Antrim Shield final defeat to Ballymena United 10 days ago.

Their league game with Dungannon was postponed on Saturday, leaving their Shield misery to fester.

“We want that out of our system, so we can’t wait to get out there again. It is against Ballymena again, so we know how tough it will be,” he said.

“We can’t afford any slip-ups in the league with Crusaders so far in front.”