Feb 252015

Everton FC are monitoring Northern Irish teen hot-shot Gavin Whyte – as Premier League interest grows in the Crusaders striker.

The 18-year-old turned on the style in front of Toffees scouts on Saturday, firing in a hat-trick to help his Belfast club Crusaders go top of the Irish Premier League.

Whyte was unplayable form in his team’s impressive 7-3 win over 10-man Glenavon at Mourneview Park as representatives from Everton and Norwich City watched.

It was just one of several eye-catching performances from the youngster this season, but he told Belfast Live that he intends to keep his feet on the ground.

“All the transfer talk affected me before Christmas,” said Whyte. “My head was pickled because I was being told lots of stuff.

“All I plan to do is concentrate on the league. I just want to do well for Crusaders between now and the end of the season.

“I would like to play across the water at some stage in my career, but I am fully committed to Crusaders. I am loving my football here. I’m learning so much, especially with the players I am playing with; the likes of Jordan and Paul.”

READ: Belfast Live’s report of Saturday’s Crusaders win as Whyte bagged the match ball

Whyte has now notched 10 goals and admits he has now re-think his campaign target.

“My confidence is sky-high now and hopefully it stays like that,” he said. “At the start I would have been happy with 12 goals, but now I’m looking at 15 or possibly even 17 because I am playing with so much confidence.”

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter admitted he gave his star pupil a choice; to turn up for Thursday night’s training or attend his college formal and face the chop for Saturday’s game.

“Gavin asked me on Tuesday about his formal and I told him absolutely not,” said Baxter. “I said he would be sitting on the bench if he planned to attend the function on Thursday. Needless to say he was at training.

“He’s a great talent. We’ve told him to focus on his football. Forget about everything else that’s going on.”

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