RYAN Atkins reckons Warrington Wolves have a potential ‘world class’ star on their books in the shape of Riley Dean.

Wire legend Atkins is now part-time with York City Knights and likes what he has seen of stand-off Dean during his loan stint at the Championship club.

Dean, 19, a former Siddal junior from Halifax, is being primed to compete with Wolves’ new signing George Williams and fellow England international Gareth Widdop in the halves next season.

“Riley’s a skilful player. He’s got all the attributes to go on and be a world beater,” said Atkins, who now plays part-time alongside managing branches of recruitment firm Driven Logistics in Leeds and Wakefield.

“For some reason, he reminds me of Paul Cooke (ex-Hull). I don’t know if that’s just because he’s tall and rangy, but I’d say Riley’s a lot more athletic than Cooky was.

“Riley’s got the rugby brain but he’s an athlete as well. He’s so raw as halves go and he’s got a long way to go, but that will come with the experience of playing in games – big games as well.

“He’s a good leader, a good talker. He lets his forwards know what he wants and expects from them.

“In training, some of the kicks that he puts in leave me thinking ‘How have you even done that? How have you threaded that ball through there, like Lee Briers-esque?’

“He’s got a good cut-out ball and long ball. He just needs to have a bit more confidence and game management, which will come with experience.”

Atkins, the leading try-scoring centre of all time for Warrington, said he can see Dean becoming a loose-forward.

“It’s a position I’d have hated to play. I was never skilful enough to be a half or loose forward, but you do run the game and ultimately if you’re not directing everybody skilfully then the team will struggle,” he said.

“So there’s a lot of pressure on a young man’s shoulders and Riley flourishes on that but sometimes he’s not got enough game experience.

“If we look back in two or three years that I’m saying these are little areas he needs to work on, there’ll be no doubt he’ll have worked on them and they’ll probably be his main assets.”

“As it is he doesn’t look out of place when he’s in the Warrington team.

“I do think he’s got all the makings to be a world-class player but just needs experience.”