McInnes keen to keep Watson after Kilmarnock youth's award win

David Watson was named as PFA Scotland's Young Player of the Year.

Derek McInnes hopes he can keep David Watson at Kilmarnock but admits the award-winning midfielder will have admirers who might want to prise him from the club.

Watson was named as Young Player of the Year last weekend, seeing off competition from Motherwell’s Lennon Miller, Dundee’s Lyall Cameron and Ross McAusland of Rangers, capping what’s been an impressive season for the 19-year-old.

The midfielder has made 33 appearances as Kilmarnock have secured European football and they look almost certain to end the season in fourth place.

Killie boss McInnes was delighted to see his player’s efforts rewarded and said that the whole club would take pride in his achievement.

He said: “Is it not just brilliant? What a story.

“I know a lot of managers, supporters of other clubs, people in the street, they always make reference to wee Watson.

“He’s a credit to his family because he’s their boy but he feels like ours, to be honest, because he’s been around the club for so long.

“We were so proud when he picked up his award. We were hopeful but we were never totally confident.”

Watson’s impressive season, and the spotlight that has fallen on the Scotland under-19 international, mean that speculation about his future is inevitable. McInnes said he would be surprised if bigger clubs hadn’t been tracking his progress.

While he is keen to keep hold of a talent who came through the youth system at Rugby Park, the manager said offers would have to be looked at.

“I think we should expect speculation,” McInnes said. “I think we should expect clubs being more than aware of him and him to be on the radar of bigger clubs than us.

“I would be surprised if he wasn’t.

“He’s been a fantastic story for us and the academy. A real flagship player for that. We’ve signed a few more players since Davie’s established himself in the first team and he’s been great for canvassing and trying to get these boys to sign.

“So we’re confident we can keep more younger players at Killie. There’s a couple we’ve agreed recently that we’ve got high hopes for.

“But with Davie, we would like him to hang about a bit longer. As a manager you want to keep hold of your best players for as long as you can.

“But we understand the market and if there are offers come in, as I expect, then it’s something we would have to look at.

“We don’t want to lose him. He’s a credit to himself and he’s only going to get better.”

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