Fulham’s boss admits he’s protecting wonder boy Pat Roberts from the rough and tumble of the Championship.
The 18-year-old has drawn rave reviews from a host of clubs, and is the target for many including Liverpool it’s rumoured, but Kit Symons has indicated a four-year deal is in the offing to guarantee would-be poachers go away.
Roberts made an immediate impact as a 55th minute sub in a Premier League defeat to Manchester City last March. He then scored in the second leg of the 2014 FA Youth Cup final in May, which Fulham lost 7–6 on aggregate to Chelsea.
His silky skills provided the assist for Tim Hoogland in the 2-1 defeat to Ipswich on opening day. On Saturday, he was a spectator from the bench as Whites eased relegation fears with a bizarre 2-0 win at Huddersfield.
The 5ft 5ins midfielder’s been used sparingly, mostly as a sub for a total 21 key of the door appearances. Even so, his coming of age is in the future, says his boss.
Symons explained: “I think you’ve got to be mindful of where young players are physically and mentally.
“Pat’s very much still developing. You’ve got to protect and nurture these players in every way. Great talent and potential is nothing unless you can get it fulfilled, and we need to find a pathway for Pat to do that.
“Pat's got a another year on his current contract after this I believe. But with all players we’re looking to bring on, we’ll look to tie up with contracts for sure.”