Jake Hastie has been playing like a man possessed in recent weeks. The winger has been Motherwell’s star man in the Steelmen’s run of six consecutive victories, scoring five goals in his first six games since returning from a loan spell at Alloa.
One thing that will concern Stephen Robinson is Hastie’s contract situation. The youngster’s current deal is finished at the end of the season, and Motherwell have tabled their best offer to the wide man. Whilst it seems likely he will stay, there is a definite possibility should his form continue, that Hastie could move on.
He is in great form, but Hastie’s development has to continue at Fir Park. There have been many players who have moved on from the Steelmen too early. Lee Erwin and Robbie Leitch are recent examples, but perhaps the best example is Paul Slane.
Breaking into the first team in 2009, Slane had the world at his feet, and looked the best youngster to come out of the Fir Park system since the like of James McFadden. His premature move to Celtic should be reason enough for Hastie to stay in North Lanarkshire.
Hastie has to learn from Slane
Slane was electric when he broke onto the scene at Motherwell. A fast and tricky winger, he showed his true potential in the Europa League qualifiers, even netting against Flamurtari. He was one of, if not the best performer, in an 8-0 rout for the Steelmen over the Albanian side.
Slane should have signed a contract at Motherwell. He was only a boy in the grand scheme of things, and he would have benefitted from the first team minutes at Motherwell. Instead he jumped shipped to sign with Celtic, and many questioned whether he was good enough yet.
He had the potential, but he wasn’t the finished product. This was a problem for Slane at Celtic, who never full broke through into the first team, and struggled with injuries amongst other things at Parkhead. Ultimately he just moved on too quickly and the pressure killed his career with the Hoops.
From there it was a downward spiral. A night in Amsterdam, controversies, and injuries killed Slane’s full time career. His last club was Clyde in 2017. Now this isn’t saying that will happen to Hastie should he move on too quickly, the wideman is a different character to what Slane was. What will be similar though, is his football career fading into obscurity.
Hastie isn’t the finished article. The potential is there for everyone to see, but he is simply too young and inexperienced to move onto bigger things just now. If the winger moves on now, it will be of a detriment to his career.
There are many tales of Well youngsters moving on too early, and seeing their potential extinguished. Slane is the saddest example in recent years, and Hastie has to embark on a different path to those before him.