Hibs kid Sam Stanton has agreed a new deal which will tie him to the Easter Road club for the next three years, it was revealed today.
The teenage midfielder is regarded as one of the most talented youngsters at the club and has already forced his way into boss Pat Fenlon’s plans, having made his debut as a substitute against Rangers at Ibrox at the beginning of the year.
This season Stanton has been a regular on the bench alongside fellow 18-year-olds Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling as Fenlon has kept his promise that the influx of new signings made as he rebuilds his squad won’t be at the expense of home-grown talent.
And as he penned the contract which will keep him with Hibs until 2015, Stanton disclosed he’d once turned down Manchester United because he was a Hibs fan. Aged just 11, Stanton attracted the attention of the Old Trafford outfit when playing for Hutchison Vale Boys’ Club, but the former Trinity Academy pupil rebuffed their advances.
Today he said: “They asked me down for a trial when I was with Hutchie Vale just before I came to Hibs. I didn’t go, partly because I’m a Hibs fan and partly because I was so young. Then I came to Hibs when I was 12 and really enjoyed it, so I made the right choice.
“Signing this contract is a massive achievement for me and I’m delighted. Hopefully I can enjoy a good few years here with Hibs.”
Stanton broke into the Scotland Under-19 squad last month, making his debut against Germany and then starring in a double-header in Norway where he scored the winner in a 2-1 victory in the first of those games. But the slightly-built star, no relation to Hibs legend Pat, revealed he’s determined to build himself up to cope with the demands of first team football – even
taking up boxing. He told Hibs TV: “I’ve been working hard in the gym after training and I’ve also been doing some boxing sessions. Playing first team football is a big difference to playing for the youth team because of the level of physicality. But I’m growing all the time and I feel I’m getting stronger, so hopefully I’ll get there soon.”
Meanwhile, mystery today surrounded the future of long-term injury Danny Galbraith amid reports the Hibs winger has been told to stay away from the club’s training ground. The 22-year-old hasn’t played since January and required a groin operation during the close-season. But less than a fortnight ago boss Pat Fenlon disclosed the former Manchester United player had returned to training. However, Hibs have refused to comment.
After winning their opening two games in the new Under-20 League, Hibs travel to Motherwell tonight hoping to make it three-in-a-row. Kick-off at Fir Park is 7pm.