There is no rush by David Turnbull to cash in on his outstanding first season in Scottish senior football, capped today by the Motherwell midfielder claiming the Scottish football writers’ young player of the year award. The 19-year-old understands, though, that the Fir Park club may not be able to afford to hold on to their prized asset.
It was only this week a year ago that Turnbull made his first start for a club which he has been with since the age of nine. In the 12 months since, he has become one of Stephen Robinson’s go-to players, with a remarkable 13-goal tally the product of stunning form since the turn of the year.
Turnbull signed a two-year contract extension in January as Southampton were reported to be considering a move for him. And the player believes it is the largesse of any prospective suitor that will determine whether he continues to play his football in Lanarkshire next season.
“I am not sure it is really up to me,” said the teenager, who declared himself “delighted” and “grateful” for the “brilliant” news of his being honoured by the SFWA, when asked if he would like to get another full season at Motherwell under his belt as a mainstay in order to enhance his development.
“I’d just like to come back next season and see what happens. If clubs come in and put a bid in then it is obviously a bonus and shows that I am doing well, but I am not sure it is up to me. If somebody came in and bid a lot of money I am sure the club would want to take it and maybe look at a loan back if I went somewhere. At the moment I am just focusing on Motherwell.”
Before that, Turnbull’s display could yet earn him a senior Scotland call-up. June internationals are notorious for bringing call-offs, which could offer him an in for the Euro 2020 double header in which the country will host Cyprus on 8 June before playing in Belgium three days later.
Scotland are likely to be under new management by then, with momentum appearing to build behind Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes – Kilmarnock’s Steve Clarke being the other frontrunner – for a vacancy that could be filled as early as next week. Any new manager would have an array of midfield riches – with Celtic pair James Forrest and Callum McGregor, Stuart Armstrong of Southampton, Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser, Aston Villa’s John McGinn and Kenny McLean of newly-promoted Norwich City vying for places.
Turnbull would not be daunted by keeping such company. “I think I could go in there and hold my own, I don’t see why not,” he said. “I’ve played against all the Celtic boys this season and I feel like I have done a pretty good job. That wouldn’t faze me at all really, going in and training with them. I would just go in there and try to do my best.”
l Turnbull was speaking as he collected the SFWA Scottish Young Player of the Year award sponsored by DoubleTree By Hilton Glasgow Central.