Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler has warned off a host of clubs interested in Gills starlet Jack Payne, insisting the midfielder is not for sale.
Payne has courted attention from a range of clubs interested in securing his services, and the youngster impressed on his return from a ten week lay off , hitting a emphatic 35-yeard strike to help his side earn a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth in their FA Cup tie at Dean Court on Saturday.
Hessanthaler was full of praise for the 19-year-old, and believes he will be able to keep hold of the talented youngster when the transfer window opens in January.
"People are always talking about Jack. He loves Gillingham and for him to leave this football club it would have to be something very, very big." The former Gills striker, in his second spell as boss at the Priestfield Stadium, told Kent Online.
"He was great and is such a comfortable footballer, I do give him a bit of a ribbing about his goals.” He added.
Payne’s 37 minute leveler marked only his third goal for Gillingham as helped his side battled back from a two goal deficit to claim a draw and earn a replay at the Priestfield on Tuesday, with Hessenthaler admitting he had seen few better efforts in his time in the game.
“He scored a very good goal at Barnet and that goal (against Bournemouth) was a bit special, it was fantastic strike." He commented.
Payne meanwhile insists he is just happy to be back playing football after his lengthy lay-off , describing his effort as “an added bonus”.
“It was nice to score as I had been out for 10 weeks on Saturday and it was just an added bonus," he said. “The 10 weeks were hard for me. I kept coming back and then I would have a setback and miss another couple of weeks.”
"Last week I was told I may have a chance of plying but the gaffer didn’t tell me until Friday, so it was a nice surprise.”