Cliftonville hero Boyce lands Celtic trial
Celtic boss Neil Lennon will run the rule over Cliftonville striker Liam Boyce this week.
The Reds hotshot jetted out for a three-day trial at the Hoops' Lennoxtown training complex on Wednesday night as interest in the 19-year-old begins to intensify.
Lennon has been busy in the transfer market of late with midfield duo Joe Ledley and Jimmy Bullard poised to join fellow new recruit Cha Du-Ri in agreeing terms, but has identified Boyce — who smashed 19 goals in his debut season last time out — as one for the future.
International duty precluded the youngster from playing against Celtic when Cliftonville hosted the Scottish giants at Solitude last October, but the Parkhead club have continued to monitor his progress and could be set to steal a march on his host of fellow suitors.
Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City and Watford are known to be interested, while representatives from Barcelona and Espanyol have watched him in action for Northern Ireland’s Under-19 side.
Cliftonville boss Eddie Patterson is under no illusions that the Carling Young Footballer of the Year can cut it across the water.
“In my opinion, it wouldn't be a gamble for any club to sign Liam Boyce,” he said.
“The kid is quality and, perhaps more importantly, knows he isn't the finished article. He always wants to learn and is willing to keep working hard to get better and better.
“We would obviously love to keep him and I would be delighted if we could do so, but we wouldn't stand in his way of playing full-time football and I firmly believe that, with the benefit of daily training behind him, he could go on to become a real star.”