THE potential of Brad Walker and Luke James is “limitless” according to Hartlepool United stalwart Sam Collins.
But the player coach has a warning to the pair of them – don’t ease up.
Last summer midfielder Walker burst onto the first team scene as a 17-year-old and during an impressive debut season bagged three goals in 42 appearances.
Amble-born James, meanwhile, continued his rapid progression and finished top scorer at the Sky Bet League Two club with 16 goals to his name.
Their form led to Walker, now 18, and James sweeping the trophies at the end of season awards do.
Player coach Collins is one of their biggest fans and believe the pair – who have been attracting interest from Championship and Premier League clubs – have a huge future in the game.
Collins, 37, told SportMail: “The potential of Brad Walker and Luke James is limitless really – if they keep doing what they have been doing last season.
“They also need to be prepared to continue to listen, to learn and to keep wanting to get better, day in, day out, on the training ground.
“Also, away from football they need to be doing the right things all of the time, especially nowadays with the way that football is.
“They could both go on and have fantastic careers and financially could be in a very good situation but they must keep doing what they have been doing.
“The key message is for them not to get carried away and keep listening to the older players, the manager and coaches – to keep that willingness to want to improve and get better.
“For Brad and for Luke, and the rest of the young lads at the club, they could go on and have really good futures.”
Collins, who signed his new deal at the end of the season, also insists there is no better place for Walker and James to be learning their trade.
Under manager Colin Cooper they have both been allowed the chance to express themselves and neither has disappointed.
James, in particular, has improved at an impressive rate, adding clinical finishing to his tireless approach to matches.
Collins added: “It is up to them to listen and to learn because the manager is giving them the freedom to express themselves, both in a team environment as well as individuals.
“They are at a good place at Hartlepool United.”
At the end of the season awards Billingham-born Walker was crowned Young Player of the Year and also walked away with Goal of the Season - for his wonderstrike against Southend United in February.
James, meanwhile, was named Supporters and Players’ Player of the Year to round off an impressive 12-months.