To be described as the ‘mini-Messi’ is high praise indeed, and is something that has been attached to Ryan Gauld in the fledgling days of his career to date.
The Scottish teenager has shown incredible vision, creativity and ability on the ball in the early days of his career, with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal reportedly keeping an eye on the youngster.
However, Gauld celebrated his 18th birthday on Monday and penned an extension to his existing deal at Dundee United, keeping him at the SPL club until May 2017.
The attacking midfielder had signed a contract extension at Tannadice last month, but was restricted with its length due to his age.
Although the financial might of the English Premier League suitors will dictate that Dundee United will struggle to hold onto their prize asset if the big boys come knocking, the decision by Gauld is certainly the correct one.
Being compared to Lionel Messi is something that carries a significant burden with it, and the young Scot still has a lot of developing and maturing to do before he is ready for the step up to the Premier League.
If he was to move to Old Trafford or the Emirates Stadium in January, a prolonged period playing reserve football would be necessary and potentially a loan move.
Staying in his homeland, where he is guaranteed regular first-team football to aid his development is the right choice for Gauld for the time being.
The playmaker has netted five goals in 14 appearances for the Arabs this season, and has been a key reason behind their rise to third place on the SPL table.
Gauld has also been starring for Scotland under-19’s, and made his debut for the under-21 outfit in November.
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