Hearts fend off Celtic, Rangers and Premier League interest with contract extension of in-demand star

Hearts have managed to secure promising starlet James Wilson on an extended deal despite interest from elsewhere in Scotland and England.

The teenager has been linked with the likes of Celtic and Rangers as well as a number of English Premier League clubs with the player visiting some teams south of the border. However, he has decided to commit his future to the Tynecastle Park side, signing a two-year deal with an option for a further year, citing the “pathway” into the first-team.

Wilson featured for the club in the final of last year's Scottish Youth Cup under the current first-team interim boss Steven Naismith. The team fell to defeat to Rangers. One of the goal scorers was Rory Wilson, the teenage Scot moved to Aston Villa this past summer.

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“I’m delighted,” he told the officials Hearts website. “I’ve been here since I was nine and come through all the way to this point. I just want to kick on now and go even further. I’ve worked with the manager for a while now and know a lot of the coaches. You can see where the pathway is going with this club and it’s a great thing to see. As a young player, that’s what you want. You never come in as one of the best players but you work hard every day and try and become the best you can with hard work.”

‘Well-documented interest’

Described by the “prolific marksman... blessed with a superb all-round game”, 16-year-old Wilson is the latest Hearts youngster to extend his deal, following Macaulay Tait and Bobby McLuckie who penned two and three-year contracts respectively having played regularly for the club’s B team in the Lowland League.

“We’re absolutely delighted,” the club's sporting director Joe Savage said. “It’s been a long process because James attracted a lot of interest due to his talent, and that was something we were comfortable with. It’s been well-documented that bigger clubs have been courting him but we knew we would put something together that would want to make him commit his future to us. He attracted interest and rightly so because his performances for Hearts and Scotland have been excellent. Teams are always going to take notice of that, but he’s chosen Hearts as his destination. We as a club will give him everything he needs to try and get into the first team and develop.

“We believe James is currently the best striker in his age group and the sky’s the limit for him. There’s so much to like about how he plays. He’s only going to get bigger, stronger and quicker. We have faith in the pathway and development of our players and James has echoed that belief by signing his contract. We think we’re on to something special here in regard to all the plans that have been put in place at the academy and we’re really excited about it. We hope that it showcases to other young players and their parents that this is the place to be and we can hopefully develop players that get into Hearts’ first team and eventually become Hearts legends and Scotland internationals.”



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