A teenage Ballyclare goalkeeper is firmly on the radar of several cross-channel and Irish League clubs, the Times can reveal.
Jason Cowan, a local 16-year-old, could be set to follow Paddy McNair all the way to Old Trafford.
He has already been watched by a Manchester United scout on more than one occasion this season, and it is understood he is also being monitored by Irish League champions Crusaders and Ballymena United.
At the beginning of this season the six-foot Ballyclare Secondary School pupil was with FC Ballynure under coach Jonty Watson, before moving with his boss to Amateur League outfit Nortel.
During the season his brilliant performances with Nortel II earned him an outing with the senior side, but, such is is raw talent and natural ability, several clubs are now battling it out for his signature.
“I think this young lad is rather exceptional,” Watson told the Times.
“He is a brilliant shot-stopper; week after week he pulls off stunning saves and it’s had opposing players and officials commenting on his displays.
“He commands his area well and communicates with his defenders very well for a lad so young, so I am not surprised he has attracted attention from senior clubs.
“I know that Manchester United are closely monitoring his progress, and I have been told that at least two Scottish Premiership clubs have been showing interest.
“The Crues, Ballymena and Ballyclare Comrades are all in the mix too and I believe he will benefit from specialised coaching. He’s a raw talent and I believe he’ll do well in the game.”