Gary Simpson knows that keeping highly-rated teenager Elliott Hewitt at Macclesfield beyond January is going to be extremely difficult, amid interest from a host of Barclays Premier League clubs, including Manchester United.

The 17-year-old defender has earned rave reviews for a string of scintillating performances for club and country, after recently winning his first caps for Wales U21s.

Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been alerted to his potential, and has sent Manchester United scouts to run the rule over Hewitt with a view to a future move to Old Trafford.

With a number of top-flight clubs having already enquired about the youngsters availability, The Silkmen boss is realistic enough to know that the player's future lies away from Macclesfield.

"I'd be lying if I said that I felt he would still be here at the end of January," said Simpson. "The amount of interest the lad has caused, with 20-30 scouts at our games watching him and quite a few of those from the Premier League, is phenomenal.

"He's only 17, playing regularly in the Football League, part of the Wales Under-21 squad and in terms of the full-back area there isn't much better players out there in the lower divisions in my opinion.

"What he will be like in a couple of years time God only knows because the kid has got unbelievable abilities.

"He can run his socks off all day and is tremendously quick, plus he will get bigger and stronger in time, so if I was at one of the top clubs in the country I definitely would be looking at him.

"It is only a matter of time before one club makes an offer because we've already had enquiries about him and once one shows their hand I'm sure a good few more will follow suit."

While Manchester United remain the favourites for Hewitt's signature, rumours are rife that the reigning Barclays Premier League champions could face competition from their City rivals, and Blackburn and Fulham have also had representatives present at Moss Rose.

"We are just waiting to see who will make the first move come January," he continued. "They've all been watching, but no one has actually come to us and started talking money yet.

"I'd love to keep him here, but I just think that there is too much interest in him for that to be possible."

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