A YOUNG cricketing protégé has been hailed as a future star – by the England women’s team captain Charlotte Edwards.

All-rounder Liberty Heap-Gibbons met Charlotte after being invited to a special training day, and impressed her with her skills.

And 34-year-old Charlotte, who led her team to Ashes glory in Australia in January, praised the 10-year-old on Twitter following the session, on Friday morning.

She said: “Lovely to meet Liberty. #futurestar.”

Liberty plays for Lowerhouse Cricket Club and Lancashire, and has played at under-15 levels with children much older.

The Briercliffe Primary School pupil, who lives in Lowerhouse with her beautician mum Shelly, 37, and cricketer step-dad Ben, 25, said: “I liked meeting Charlotte because she inspires me. When the Ashes were on, I watched her on the TV and I want to be like her.”

Liberty has been playing cricket for around 18 months, and got her love for the sport from Ben, Lowerhouse vice-captain and youth coach.

He said: “Just before her ninth birthday, she said she wanted to give cricket a go. Since then, we have practised three or four times a week.

“Everybody at Lancashire Cricket Club got an email with the opportunity to go and meet Charlotte, and to train with her. Charlotte was a really nice woman, and had a real presence about her. She was taller than I thought she would be too.”

Ben said Liberty has her sights set on becoming a full-time cricketer when she’s older and, with the England and Wales Cricket Board offering women professional contracts for the first time recently, she has a chance to make a living from the game.