Versatile Bristol City whizkid Alex Scott is being eyed as possible replacement for Declan Rice and James Maddison
ALEX SCOTT’S talent is so versatile that West Ham see him as a potential Declan Rice replacement, while Leicester reckon he could one day fill James Maddison’s shoes.
Those England stars are completely different profiles of midfielder and yet there is a belief that adaptable Scott could do either.
The 19-year-old is seen by many as the best youngster outside the Premier League, who will likely move to the top flight this summer.
Bristol City know they have a superstar in the making on their hands and are bracing themselves for bids.
Yet unlike most of the whizkids in this country, Scott has trodden a different path to the traditional academy route.
He was born in the Channel Island of Guernsey, where he grew up playing football with his step-sister Maya Le Tissier, now of Manchester United and England.
Scott was with Southampton for a few years, making the flight over every other weekend and in school holidays at his family’s expense, before he was released at 14.
He joined local side Guernsey FC, managed by Tony Vance who had known Scott since he was six.
Guernsey play in the Isthmian league South Central Division – the eighth tier of the English pyramid – meaning that, from the age of 16, Scott was playing men’s football.
Vance told SunSport: “He was disillusioned with football when he came back from Southampton.
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“Living on an island is difficult because you’re out of the loop, as he wasn’t allowed to move to the mainland. The other boys who lived locally were training two or three days a week.
“But Guernsey play in non-league where it is brutal and ruthless. Alex’s early grounding was fruitful because he matured very quickly.”
Vance soon realised Scott was too good for his side and, having a close relationship with Brian Tinnion, now academy director at Bristol City, the youngster was sent over to the Robins for a trial.
He hit a perfect hat-trick with goals using his left foot, right foot and head in the first half of one try-out match – and the decision was made for him to be signed.
Fast forward three years and he racked up 84 appearances for the Championship side four months shy of his 20th birthday.
He was described as “an unbelievable player” by Pep Guardiola after a sparkling performance in February’s 3-0 FA Cup defeat to Manchester City.
Jack Grealish called him a “top, top talent” and there is a similarity with the England star in the way Scott is never scared to take the ball, no matter the situation.
Now he is likely to have his pick of clubs in the summer, with Liverpool also watching on with interest, as are Spurs, Wolves and more.
There is also interest from Germany too and Scott himself would not be against moving abroad.
He revealed in October that he was studying Jude Bellingham’s game, despite being the same age and playing against the Three Lions sensation when they were kids.
Scott said: “He was playing for Birmingham a few years ago and now he’s playing in the Champions League. He’s the main one at the moment that I’m really keeping an eye on and trying to take bits out of his game and put it into mine.”
What will help his cause is his amazing versatility, which comes as no surprise to Vance.
The Guernsey chief added: “Alex can be a 6, an 8, a 10, a 7 and an 11. He can do all of those roles. I played him wing-back when he was 16 just to get him in the team.”
Nigel Pearson has done the same at times at Bristol, though he usually plays him at No10 which Vance sees as Scott’s best position.
Scott, rated at £25million, will be wary that his next move must ensure him game-time, though his steely determination will make him confident of succeeding anywhere.
Should he need a cautionary tale though, he need only look at his central midfield partner for the England Under-20s.
Carney Chukwuemeka was signed by Chelsea from Aston Villa for £18million in August but has barely featured since.
While Bristol will obviously have a big say in what happens.
As boss Pearson said: “Every player has their price but it will have to be one hell of a bid for Alex to go.
“And I can assure everyone that (City owner) Steve Lansdown doesn’t want to sell players just for the sake of it.
“But for someone to get him away from Ashton Gate, it’s going to cost them a fortune.”
For a player that adaptable, many will be thinking a fortune is well worth it.