Belfast Telegraph

I don't what know else I can do to earn dream move to England: Crusaders star Gavin Whyte

By Paul Ferguson in Panama

Gavin Whyte accepts it's now or never.

The Crusaders star is coming off the back of a trophy-laden season - one he described as the best 12 months of his life.

He's on Northern Ireland's tour to Central America and could make his international debut against Panama in the sweltering heat inside the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.

But in the sun-drench surroundings of Panama City, he's not entirely happy.

The 22 year-old is the subject of interest from Championship club Leeds United and League Two Crawley Town and believes he must make the breakthrough to English football this summer.

A deal is expected soon but the wait is agony for a player who doesn't want to wait any longer.

The attacking midfielder said he's completed his apprenticeship in the Irish League and is ready for a chance of big time football.

Whyte said: "I had a really good first year at Crusaders and I was waiting on a move. I didn't get it and I was saying, 'What do I need to do to get this move?'

"Two years on from that I was good but I wasn't consistent. I think this year I've ticked all the boxes and I don't know what else I can do to earn a move.

"Crusaders know I want to go. I've spoken to Stevie (Baxter) a couple of times in the last couple of weeks and he's said he doesn't think he can hold on to me for another year. I think it's the right time to go. I'm 22, I don't think I had a better year than what I had this year so I think I need to go now, and he knows that.

"But with regards to the interest, I've just said, 'If there's something solid on the table then give me a call' but I don't think there's been much movement.

"There's interest and there's been a few calls. Nothing's actually been agreed."

Scottish teams in the past, including Dundee United, have been interested in signing Whyte, however the midfielder, who was impressive against Spain in the Under-21s match in March, has his heart set on a move to England and hopefully the Championship.

He's sharing a room with Paul Smyth, the former Linfield ace who is now developing well at QPR.

Whyte added: "It's very important to find the right club. Stevie said it's important for me to get the right club and the right manager. I want to be hitting the ground running, playing every week, I don't want to be going into the Under-23s. I need to go and play straight away. I don't know what's going to happen if I don't play every week. I think I'm going to find it tough because I have been playing every week.

"I have to go in somewhere and hit the ground running and get a good manager.

"I'm sharing a room with Paul, we're good friends and he's told me I need to get over.

"You see what he's done and that's what I'm looking to do. He's taken his chance and that's what I'm looking to do."

Our coverage of Northern Ireland's tour to play Panama and Costa Rica is brought to you in conjunction with BetMcLean.

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