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Can Fulham keep hold of Manchester United and Arsenal target?

Whites young gun O'Riley is a man in demand

Can Fulham hold on to Matt O'Riley? That will be the question on the lips of Whites fans this week.

The highly-rated midfielder has been linked with moves to both Arsenal and Manchester United, having broken into the Fulham first team this season at the age of 16.

Having stepped up from the U23s side to make his full debut in the Carabao Cup win at Wycombe, O'Riley also played in the next round against Bristol Rovers, having in between also featured against Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy.

He has also been called up to the England U17 squad for their September friendlies against Brazil and South Africa ahead of next month's World Cup, despite also being eligible for Norway and Denmark.

Young lion: O'Riley in action for his country(Image: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Fulham will naturally want to keep hold of a player they rate very highly, but fans will point to the sale of another young prospect, Dennis Adeniran, to Everton on transfer deadline day.

At the same time, the club have managed to hold at bay any suitors for the likes of Ryan Sessegnon and Tayo Edun, so they have also showed they can keep hold of their hot properties.

Earlier this month, Whites boss Slavisa Jokanovic said of O'Riley: “This player is in the process - he's very talented player and he makes his job good enough for his age.

“In general, the games were one of the first challenges for him in senior football. He played good against Wycombe and he moved and try to offer the quality against Bristol too.

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“It's early and his first steps, but I used a lot of young players in these games and what I said before, they're in the process of learning, and I expect he can be an important player for our club in the future.”

Born down the M4 in Hounslow, O'Riley, who played for NPL Teddington as a youngster, is seen as a creative midfielder at his best playing in the centre of the park, with a coolness on the ball and an ability to run the game – showing great maturity for his age.

Fulham academy director Huw Jennings said of him: “Matt is a very talented midfielder who has been with us since U9s. He has excellent creativity, is a terrific passer and makes intelligent decisions.

“It was excellent to see him make his debut in the Carabao Cup game against Wycombe. He showed maturity beyond his years and will have benefited greatly from the experience.”

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