RIO Adebisi has the potential to go a long way in football.

That’s the view of Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell, after he handed the Northwich 18-year-old left-back his first-team debut against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.

Former St Nicholas Catholic High School student Adebisi, who started out with Barnton Juniors, got his opportunity by merit said Artell.

The Alex boss said: “Rio was terrific and he deserved his chance because he has worked hard in training and applied himself really well.

“I don’t think he was fazed in any way and he has shown that he has a bright future in the game.

Northwich Guardian:

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, left, and Crewe Alexandra’s Rio Adebisi, right, battle for the ball during the Carabao Cup second round match at Alexandra Stadium. Picture: PA Wire

“He wasn’t just thrown in. If we didn’t think he was ready, he wouldn’t have played.

“He is an athletic boy and has a lot of ability. He has to keep working hard and is heading in the right direction.”

Adebisi, who had been an unused sub at Newport for the previous Saturday’s League Two clash, cherished his debut despite being on the wrong end of a 6-1 scoreline.

Now he is treating it as a step to making more of an impact at first-team level for The Railwaymen.

“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” he said.

“I was excited and nervous, I was buzzing. All the nerves came in but I had to keep them steady so I could play well.

“I thought I did well against a great standard, but I played well, performed on the night.

“The atmosphere was amazing, I’ve never played in front of this attendance before so it was very loud.

“You couldn’t really speak to other players on the pitch because it was so loud but I loved it.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity and buzzing that I’ve finally been able to make my debut.

“It makes me want more, I want more from myself so I can get to the top.”

The rise of Rio goes back to when he first joined Barnton Wanderers Football Club at the age of five, after having moved to the area in 2004.

He spent seven years learning his craft with the club before joining The Alex’s renowned Academy.

After impressing during the past two years as an Alex scholar, Croydon-born Adebisi was promoted to a first-year professional in May.

Most of last season was spent in Crewe’s under 18s and under 23s sides but at the back end he went on loan to Leek Town, where he helped the Northern Premier League Division One West side reach the play-offs.

For his work on and off the pitch Adebisi was presented with the club’s Harold Finch Scholar of the Year Award last season.

He is an energetic full-back who likes to get forward and can also play in midfield.

Adebisi is likely to continue his progression in the under 23s at Gresty Road this season.