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Chairman Phil Wallace wants to keep highly touted youngsters

12 January 2018

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Word from the Boardroom...

In light of recent speculation, Stevenage FC Chairman Phil Wallace has said the club would prefer to keep hold of the two young players that are attracting so much attention this January – 18 year old Ben Wilmot and 19 year old Mark McKee.

"We are flattered at the interest from so many Premier League clubs for our young players, but we want to continue developing and improving them here for as long as possible.  

"Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Burnley, Watford, Brighton, Bournemouth and West Brom have all registered interest and I am told there is also a top Bundesliga club that wants to speak to me.

"This isn’t an accident. It has taken us five years and a sizeable investment to get our Academy to develop a conveyor belt of talent.

"Last Saturday in the FA Cup Third Round against Reading, we started three Academy lads and had two more on the bench.

"Our role in the football pyramid is to develop and improve these young lads, so they can fulfil their potential.

“We have experienced football men in our management team like Glenn Roeder and Nicky Shorey, who know what a top player looks like.

"Our response to every call is the same – we want to continue improving our lads, so we can get the right deal for the Club and the right deal for the player.

“That is not likely to be achieved by them leaving us at the first sign of interest.

"To me, Exeter City set the bar for us all in League Two with the sale of 19 year old Matt Grimes at £1.75m and they did it again with Ollie Watkins last season at £1.8m.

“I would also expect Ethan Ampadu’s price to be significantly higher than both of those, when his tribunal fee is announced in the next few months.

“This is the value of a young lad today with Premier League potential, no matter what league his club are in, with an individual package for the player that reflects the size of the fee. 

“The days of top quality young lads being picked off early for relatively small fees and modest wages are over, reflecting the inflated value of a Premier League player today.’’


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