Dundee United manager Thomas Courts is confident Tannadice wonderkid Kerr Smith can handle the interest in the teen from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool – and hopes he can keep him in Dundee a while longer.
Smith has had stints training with Premier League clubs and Courts admits he is unsure if there will be any bids made for the defender when the transfer window opens at the start of 2022.
While some of the biggest names in English football have been linked with Smith, Courts wants to help him focus on his football and continuing his development.
“Kerr has had to deal with it for the best part of a year now so it’s nothing new for him,” Courts said [Courier].
“He has been down training with English Premier League clubs in the past so we know they are aware of him.
“It’s a pretty unique situation having a 16-year-old playing regularly in your first team and being good enough. When that happens there is always a lot of interest, especially with a defender because of the physical profile.
“And if someone of his age can handle it, then it’s attractive to clubs because they will think: ‘Where will this boy be in 4 years’ time if he’s already playing at sixteen?’
“Kerr is a really level-headed guy. He doesn’t get put up or down by much and that’s a great temperament to have.
“Hopefully we can keep him developing at our club for a while longer. Do we expect bids in January? I am not entirely sure, we are aware of the speculation but I don’t know of anything developing.
“Kerr will be having input from a lot of people who will be helping him. My role in that is to just keep him focused on football.
It’s nice for me to play that role for him, just focus on what he needs to do on the training pitch and in games.
“It’s a good problem to have, seeing him linked with big clubs.
“We want to keep him as long as possible but we also know he’s a talented player and naturally there will be interest.”
Smith is currently with the Scotland under-19 squad in Croatia and was on the bench yesterday as Billy Stark’s side lost 3-2 to Armenia.
The prospect of a Premier League move would no doubt land Dundee United a hefty transfer fee with Smith under contract for a while yet at Tannadice.
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