FALKIRK manager Peter Houston has urged any interested clubs to put up or shut up after teenage prodigy Tony Gallacher found himself linked with interest from Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and the Old Firm.
Houston is fully aware that Gallacher has been put under surveillance by a number of top clubs, with Stoke City having made their interest clear and Falkirk knocking back Manchester United’s request to have the defender for a week’s training.
Liverpool and Manchester City are said to have watched the left-back in recent games, whilst Everton are another monitoring a player reportedly valued at £750,000 by the Bairns.
Houston is adamant the 17-year-old, who made his debut last season and has started the last six games, would benefit from staying at Falkirk and learning his trade with the Championship club.
And, despite being a ‘level-headed boy’, he is concerned the youngster could be adversely affected by the current head-turning speculation so early in his highly promising career.
He said: “I know there have been people watching him. Stoke have been interested but that was a few months ago.
“I’ve had a club down in England, through an agent, asking me about him.
“Manchester United’s scout would have liked to have taken him down for a week. Well, no, because what happens if he breaks his leg or does his cruciate ligament?
“Barcelona might be watching Tony but they haven’t asked for any tickets for our games! They haven’t been in touch with this football club.
“It’s only natural if his name’s getting thrown about all over the place that he’ll get linked with these football clubs.
“But the people who really want him are the ones who will come in and put in a bid.
“We’re not here to prevent anybody from going on to bigger and better things, but there’s been absolutely nothing.
“Tony’s just 17 and I think people should now just leave him alone and let him develop – or come and buy him.
“More than the clubs quoted have probably watched him. That doesn’t mean to say they’ll make a bid for him.
“What Tony is, is a prospect and a very, very good prospect. How he develops is important, not only for us, but for him more importantly.
“He’s the boy who could go on to have a top-class career at a big club, but at this present time I think we should just let him settle down and play, and not expect too much.”