Patrick Roberts is the best English player his age, says Eastwick

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Liverpool or Manchester United would be getting the best English player 'in his age band' if they are able to secure a deal for coveted Fulham teenager Patrick Roberts.

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Exciting talent

Roberts has made four appearances for Fulham this season and, although the club are rooted to the foot of the Championship without a win to speak of, the 17-year-old has impressed with his displays for Felix Magath’s beleaguered side.

The young forward is in contention to play for Fulham in Wednesday night’s encounter against third-placed Nottingham Forest, and the first-team coach of the East Midlands club, Brian Eastwick, has outlined Roberts as a potential danger.

“They have had a high turnover of players which is inevitable when you get relegated from the Premier League, but they’ve got some very good young players,” he told Forest Player.

“Patrick Roberts, who I saw play for England at 16 and 17, is probably the best player in his age band.”

Premier League interest

Roberts made his debut for the club during last season’s disastrous Premier League campaign, with his first game something of a baptism of fire as he came on as a second-half substitute during the 5-0 thrashing against champions Manchester City.

Fulham’s subsequent relegation led to increased speculation about his future at Craven Cottage, with Liverpool and Manchester United the the clubs of most prominent standing to be linked with an approach for the England under-19 international.

There were claims that Liverpool hoped to conclude a deal for Roberts with a view to loaning him back out to Fulham for the season, although it would appear Brendan Rodgers went against making a formal approach.

Manchester United, meanwhile, were supposedly quoted a massive £15 million had they decided to pursue a move to bring the player to Old Trafford before the transfer deadline.

Future development

But both clubs will no doubt be keen observers to watch how Roberts does develop over the course of the campaign although, at present, it seems as though his contributions will be fleeting.

Magath claimed earlier this month that Roberts is not ready to start regularly given his inability at this stage in his career to effect an encounter in its early stages. This has restricted him to more of an impact role to date.

The manager does, however, clearly rate his young prodigy, describing him as an ‘extraordinary talent’, and given the club’s horrendous run of form, it will be interesting to see who stays with Fulham the longest.

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