Charlie Mulgrew has urged teenage sensation Kerr Smith to put a big money transfer down south on hold to continue his development at Dundee United.
Courier Sport revealed last week that Smith is on the radar of all 20 English Premier League clubs after making his first-team breakthrough at the age of 16.
The talented centre-back trained with Aston Villa, Everton and Manchester United before penning his first professional contract with the Tannadice club.
Mulgrew is convinced ‘frightening prospect’ Smith is destined to make it to the top.
But he has called on the youngster – who is believed to have a £500k release clause in his contract – to continue his apprenticeship at Tannadice.
Mulgrew, who quit Celtic for Wolverhampton Wanderers at 20, is convinced he can forge a commanding central defensive partnership with Smith – despite a 19-year age gap.
“Early signs show that Kerr is a really good player,” said Mulgrew.
“He’s only 16, I can’t believe it. I think I was in Malia with the lads when he was born in 2004 which is frightening!
“He can develop into a top, top player.
“It would be easy for him to have his mind wandering elsewhere. My advice to him would be to stay and learn his trade.
“If he works hard then he has plenty of time ahead of him.
“Even just training with the first team at 16 is an unbelievable achievement. He’s going to learn a lot from that alone.
Manchester United and Leicester City are embroiled in a transfer battle for Scottish prodigy Kerr Smith. There is a £500,000 clause in Smith’s contract, which will increase as he plays further matches for Dundee United. The young Scot has spent time at Man United in the past.
— Manchester United Youth News (@MUFCYouthNow) June 30, 2021
“He’s better plying his trade here and earning his big move later on.
“It’s much more beneficial than spending time training with the Under-18s or Under-23s down south.”
Mulgrew impressed by United’s facilities
Meanwhile, Mulgrew insists the Dundee United he has re-joined is better than the one he starred for as a teenage loan star in 2006.
United have invested significantly in sports science, data analysis and youth development at their St Andrews University training base.
And Mulgrew, capped 44 times for Scotland, believes United have made big strides as a club over the last decade.
“The club has got a lot better since I was here the first time,” said Mulgrew.
“It was 15 years ago so the game was a bit different then but everything has improved since I was here.
“Football has moved forward and Dundee United have definitely moved forward with the times.
“From the food the chefs produce, to sports science and the training facilities everything is better.
“I’ve seen both sides. I remember the first time I was here on loan. It made me grow up.
“I went down south to Wolves and they were moving forward as a big club.
I came back to Aberdeen and Celtic and saw big changes at Celtic.
“At Blackburn they also increased their sports science department.
“I’ve travelled with United in a minibus to Junior pitches for training.
Small things make big difference
“I’ve also been to the big training grounds and to discover the small ‘one percents.’
“The wee one percents add up. It’s cliched but small things are done right here.
“The manager is forward thinking and a modern day coach.
“Man management is a huge part of that as well and he seems to be doing that well.
“It’s still early days but he has impressed the lads and we want to help him achieve good things at Dundee United.”