As a football fan, there are few things more joyous than seeing a bright young talent tearing up a league. The man taking this role in The Danske Bank League is young winger Gavin Whyte of Crusaders. Two goals in a top of the table thriller against Coleraine at the weekend makes Whyte the league’s top scorer with 17 goals in just 25 games – that’s a ratio of 69 minutes per goal compared to 71 minutes per goal for England’s Harry Kane.
At just 21 years old the Belfast born Whyte has already appeared over 100 times for Crues, winning back-to-back league titles in the process and the Northern Ireland Writers Association Young Player of the Year in the 2015-16 season. Gavin’s immense potential has attracted clubs from across the Irish Sea in the past – Scottish side Dundee had a failed attempt to buy the winger last January, and clubs including Everton and Celtic have been watching the player with a keen eye.
Whyte, however, has pledged his allegiance to Crues, for the meantime anyway. He openly admitted that the possibility of a move to Dundee has distracted him from his responsibility at Crues last season, but has since stated he is focussed on his football in Northern Ireland. Despite the influx of trophy wear and the lure of Europa League football with Crusaders, a move into full-time football is the goal for any semi-professional footballer.
Many young players from domestic Irish football are beginning to make their way into English football. As a QPR fan I’m all to aware, and a big fan of, Paul Smyth. Signing before the start of the current season, Smyth has walked into Loftus Road as one of the best young players at the club and, despite not making as many appearances as he’s probably like, is working his way up the pecking order.
So as the title reads, the future is bright for Whyte. Danske Banks top scorer, two league titles and a handful of under-21 caps for Northern Ireland makes for good reading. The possibility of a cross-water move into English or Scottish football seems to grow in strength with every transfer window for Whyte. But with January drawing to an end, Whyte will see out the remainder of the season with Crues but it’s safe to say, that the dream move will come for Whyte.