Kilmarnock’s head of football operations James Fowler and academy director Paul McDonald have both sent Liam Smith a message following his Manchester City move.

The 16-year-old has left Rugby Park for the Etihad with immediate effect. Rumours had rumbled on for months over his move to the current English champions but it has now been confirmed.

Smith has joined Manchester City.

Smith has joined Manchester City. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

In a club statement, Fowler says that whilst he’s disappointed to see him go without a first-team berth, he understands why Smith has opted for Manchester City.

“While we had hoped to see Liam continue his development at Rugby Park and are disappointed to be losing him, we fully understand and appreciate the opportunities moving to Manchester City will provide Liam both on and off the pitch. We wish him every success at Manchester City,” he said.

Similarly, McDonald had kind words for the talented youngster he’s worked with: “Liam has been fantastic to work with and has proved to be a credit to himself and his family during his time at Rugby Park.

A pleasure to work with in Ayrshire according to McDonald. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“Everyone at the Academy wishes him all the best at the Etihad.”

Rising star

The move sees Smith go to City for an undisclosed fee, although it is likely a six-figure sum. He recently helped Kilmarnock’s U18s make next month’s Scottish FA Youth Cup final.

It’s a big opportunity for him to try his luck at one of the world’s biggest clubs. Killie clearly see that for Smith, it’s not one that could be turned down.

Smith becomes the next Scottish talent to ply his trade with City. He’ll link up with talented Citizens and Scotland prospect Lewis Fiorini at the Etihad.

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