Ryan Richefond has been tipped for a return to the Football League – after being likened to Claude Makelele.

Richefond has made a big impact since joining Worthing on dual-registration from Southern Combination League side Loxwood three weeks ago.

The former Crawley Town professional has scored three goals in five appearances for the Rebels to help lift them to second place in Ryman south.

Richefond came through the youth academy at Crawley before earning a one-year pro contract in April 2014.

The 19-year-old made just one appearance as a substitute for Reds in the JP Trophy before being released at the end of last season.

He linked up with his former Crawley academy boss Mark Beard at Loxwood where his performances as a high-energy midfielder caught the eye of joint Rebels boss Gary Elphick.

Elphick said: “Ryan has been a fantastic addition. He has made a massive difference to the team.

“He has got an old head on young shoulders and has great energy levels. He is a bit like Claude Makelele or Ramires in the way he plays in central midfield.

“He is already a fine player and will only get stronger with age. He must have matured a lot since he left Crawley as he has definitely got a future in the game.

“I see him playing a massive role for Worthing and would love to keep him for the rest of the year. I’m confident he will go on to play at a higher level but hopefully it will be with us next season.”

Elphick admits the ability to unearth young players from the lower levels is a key factor in Worthing’s success this season on a limited budget.

“You have just got to keep your eye out as there are a lot of good players around at the lower levels,” he added. “If you get out there and watch games you can pick up some gems.

“We got Jordan Clark from Horsham and he has got a fantastic future. We haven’t got a huge budget so we need to keep finding good young players.”