Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders won't put up with time-wasters as Gavin Whyte stakes claim for big move: Baxter

By Graham Luney

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter has warned any clubs thinking about making a move for his wing wizard Gavin Whyte to put up or shut up.

Whyte, whose deflected winner dealt another significant blow to Linfield's title defence at Windsor Park on Saturday, is arguably the best player in the Danske Bank Premiership on current form and if he keeps producing the magic, his career could move to a higher level.

Cross channel scouts are monitoring the 21-year-old's progress but Baxter isn't interested in speculation or any clubs threatening to waste his time.

"Gavin deserves to play at a higher level but I can't as a manager walk into another club, hand pick a player and say I'll have him," said the Crues boss.

"We are not having any clubs make derisory offers and unsettling the player, perhaps offering a third of what I'm offering an Irish League player to sign.

"If you go to the shops and like the diamond ring you buy it, if you don't, don't buy it.

"We are trying to be professional and win things without having unsettled players. Clubs interested in any of my players should be serious about it and not waste my time."

The Crues have nurtured Whyte since he was a raw, fresh-faced teenager and he now has a talent and value that any interested club must respect.

Another magnificent performance in the 2-1 win over Linfield underlined his growing confidence and maturity.

“We undersell ourselves in this country when we talk about not standing in a player’s way of moving on,” said Baxter.

“We have developed Gavin since he was 15 and grown him to the stature he is today. He’s the most wonderful kid, he eats out of your hand and he’s focused on doing well with Crusaders. We will look after him and always will. He won’t be devalued, only helped in his career and if I was the manager of a club a few levels up I’m surprised my phone hasn’t rung 50 times in the last month because that’s how good he has been.

“He looks sensational but these things aren’t in my control. Football people can see the talent and they should talk to us without wasting our time. A year ago my time was wasted for six weeks answering questions about Gavin and dealing with idiot scouts on my telephone.”

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