Hearts: Campbell Money puts a high price on David Templeton

DAVID TEMPLETON can become the most valuable outfield player in Hearts' history provided he remains at Tynecastle to augment his recent progress. That is the opinion of Campbell Money, who helped nurture the youngster at Stenhousemuir before working with him on Scotland Under-21 duty this season.

Hearts' record incoming transfer fee stands at 9?million from Sunderland for goalkeeper Craig Gordon in 2007. The highest amount received for an outfield player is the 2.5m West Bromwich Albion paid for Roman Bednar the following year.

Money believes Templeton has the potential to eclipse Bednar's fee. The winger scored three goals in four games to earn the SPL Young Player of the Month award for November and is currently one of the SPL's most engaging entertainers.

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His performances this season have seen him advance from peripheral squad member to first-team regular for the first time since he joined Hearts from Stenhousemuir in January 2007. Other young footballers would be overwhelmed after making such headway, but Money depicts Templeton as a sensible, level-headed sort who knows exactly where he is and where he wants to go. For now, Money is advising his former protege to remain at Hearts where his development has accelerated under manager Jim Jefferies.

"I think Templeton has the potential to be the most valuable Hearts outfield player ever. There's no question about that. That's how highly I rate him," said Money, now a youth development co-ordinator with the SFA.

"I would hope that, in time, he will prove that to be the case. If that happens then Hearts, in the period of time he's still with them, will have a player who is doing well for them. Then they will gain financially if he moves on.

"Hopefully David will move, not just to a bigger club but also to play international football. That will be the thing for him. I'm sure he'll want every opportunity to play for Scotland if at all possible.

"It's in David's interests just now to be playing regular first-team football. He is intelligent enough to understand that this is the right thing for him at the moment.

"He is clever enough to know what is right for him. He is playing in the Hearts first team right now, and doing well, so I wouldn't see any advantage in him moving at this stage.

"It's easy for me to say that when wages and other things will come into his thinking elsewhere, which is perfectly natural. But he's only really broken into the Hearts first team with any regularity this season. I think he recognises that, he isn't a stupid wee boy.

"Hearts is the right place for him to be at the moment. He's got a manager who likes him and wants to play him in the team. That's obvious because he keeps picking him. If David stays where he is right now, he will get his rewards eventually anyway.

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"He will move on because he definitely has the talent. He has two great feet, is a composed finisher, can cross with both feet and is very creative."

The increase in Templeton's productivity makes him virtually undroppable, particularly when he is lashing in goals of the quality scored against Hibs, Celtic and Hamilton last month.

It is also likely to attract attention from potential suitors of a player contracted to Tynecastle until June 2013. Hearts are certainly in no rush to sell potentially their most precocious talent and, equally, he has no desire to leave whilst knowing he is on to such a good thing.

"David is one of a band of smaller Scottish players just coming onto the scene," continued Money. "Barry Bannan is another example of that type of player. He and David have become very friendly from their time with the Scotland Under-21s. I think it's great that these kids are getting opportunities now, I just hope they keep improving.

"If David was to move just now you'd be talking maybe 1m or so. It would depend how many games he had played, whether he was close to the Scotland squad or not. All these things are factors in any transfer fee. That would increase in time so I hope he improves at Hearts."

Money, whilst manager of Stenhousemuir, helped negotiate Templeton's transfer to Tynecastle for an initial 30,000 in January 2007. He had coached the player as a teenager as Stenhousemuir's youth coach before utilising him at senior level alongside other academy graduates Scott McManus, Steven Desmond and Gary Thom.

It was Des McKeown, Money's predecessor at Ochilview, who granted Templeton his first-team debut at the tender age of 16. Back in July 2006, after the winger returned from a week's training at Newcastle United, McKeown recognised he had to place a protective arm around one of Scotland's biggest prospects to ensure he developed properly. "I'm very protective of the kid because he is a prodigious talent," said McKeown at the time.

"I don't want him to be at the beck and call of every club which wants to take him on trial, or of every newspaper. He'll have plenty of time for that later because he is going to fantastic. We've had interest from a number of clubs in England and Scotland, but he is our player and he will remain our player until such times as a club comes in and buys him."

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When Hearts came calling, Money knew there would only be one outcome. "The Stenhousemuir board had a viewpoint that they wouldn't stand in anybody's way as long as they were properly recompensed," he explained.

"In fairness to John Murray, Hearts' youth academy director, he did the deal with us and he was brilliant in that sense. He was very fair in his valuation of the player.

"As long as Stenhousemuir got a reasonable amount up front and significant add-ons, they were quite happy for David to move because it was a great opportunity for him. I started working with David when he was 16. We got him from boys' club football and he's done fantastically well for himself.

"You could always tell he had great ability.

"He was small, not only in height but in stature too. I worked with him recently when he was in the Scotland Under-21 squad and he's grown up physically and mentally. David's an intelligent boy who has matured a lot. I'm absolutely thrilled for him."