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Page last updated at 07:36 GMT, Monday, 2 August 2010 08:36 UK

Lee Bell hails Crewe pair Ashley Westwood & Luke Murphy

Crewe Alexandra midfielder Lee Bell
Bell returned to Crewe after leaving the club for Mansfield in 2007

New Crewe signing Lee Bell believes that youngsters Ashley Westwood and Luke Murphy will have outstanding futures in the game.

"Those two are the best midfield players outside of the Championship," Bell told BBC Radio Stoke.

"Murphy can hopefully come out of his shell a little bit because he could go on and play at the highest level.

"Westwood is confident in his ability and he should be, because he's at a good standard," the 26-year-old added.

The trio are likely to start for the Alex on the opening day of the League Two season against Hereford at the Alexandra Stadium on Saturday.

Westwood, 20, picked up the player of the year award in his first full campaign with the first-team, while Murphy, also 20, has impressed the coaching staff with the improvement that he has made during pre-season.

Coach Neil Baker told BBC Radio Stoke: "You hope that they come back ready to go and Murphy fits into that category. He looks as though he's come back a better player.

I'm trying to make the most of it, more than I did the last time that I was here

Lee Bell on his return to Crewe Alexandra

"Westwood had a terrific first year and will only get better, so that's encouraging. Our midfield will be a strong part of our team."

Bell will make his first appearance for Crewe since coming off the bench in a League Cup tie against Manchester United in October 2006, after spells with Mansfield Town and Macclesfield Town.

"I still can't believe that I'm back here," he added. "I'm enjoying it and trying to make the most of it, more than I did the last time that I was here."

Crewe maintained their 100% record in pre-season with a 2-0 win over Wrexham on Saturday, with strikers Shaun Miller and Calvin Zola scoring the goals.

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