KEITH Curle has praised the way Latics’ newest professional Benny Couto has made his mark on the first team.

The 18-year-old penned a three-year deal on the eve of Saturday’s trip to Mansfield Town, where he contributed to a third clean sheet in four games for Curle’s side.

Couto made his debut in the Papa John’s Trophy win over Salford, and such was the attack minded left back’s impact in the game Curle was keen to fast-track him to the senior set-up in his second year scholarship, just as he did with midfielder Harry Vaughan.

“He’s a young 18 year old who’s only been training with us for two months and enjoying the environment and enjoying the challenges, taking on board information and learning new things,” said Curle of Portugal-born Couto.

“We want to create that development and pathway for young players.

“We’re not scared of putting them in. If we think they’re good enough then they’re certainly old enough.”