BUTLER CAN BE THE NEXT JOE COLE

DANNY DICHIO today tipped young Sunderland midfielder Thomas Butler to emerge as the new Joe Cole - the Irish version, at least!

DANNY DICHIO today tipped young Sunderland midfielder Thomas Butler to emerge as the new Joe Cole - the Irish version, at least! The striker played alongside Butler in the reserves' 0-0 draw with Blackburn in the FA Premier Reserve League match last night, when the 19-year-old ran the game from midfield.

And Dichio reckons that if the teenager can continue his progress he can emerge as one of the finest young talents in the game.

Cole is viewed by many as the playmaking future of England and Dichio is convinced that Butler could go on to take on the same mantle for the Republic of Ireland.

As a player who has seen his own way into the first team blocked by Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, Dichio is the first to admit that it is difficult for players to come through at a big club like Sunderland.

But he says Butler has all the attributes that mark him out as a star of the future.

He said: "We've got some very good young players coming through and I don't think they are getting the credit they deserve because they are not playing as much first team football as they would at other clubs.

"For instance I think Thomas Butler could be the next Joe Cole _ for Ireland, of course!

"I have seen him on the training pitch and in games and he is very highly-rated at our club by both the players and the staff.

"I think he's got everything -ability on the ball, skill, he can beat men quite easily and then his end product crossing or shooting is very good as well.

"He had a difficult loan period at Darlington earlier in the season because it is difficult for a player of his calibre, skill-wise, to go and play at that level.

"He maybe would have been more effective in the Premiership or the First Division gaining more experience."

Dichio and Butler came closest to breaking the deadlock for the reserves at New Ferens Park but they could not find the breakthrough.

Butler saw a first-half shot from fully 35 yards palmed over the bar , while he drove into the sidenetting from 16 yards in the second period.