Barcelona and Liverpool keen on Hamilton youngster

The 18-year-old has impressed for Hamilton this season and will play for the Republic of Ireland instead of Scotland.

“I contact the Scottish Football Association on numerous occasions to inform them about James,” agent George Gray explained to the Sunday World.

“I was informed that, in their opinion, he wasn’t good enough so, during a chance phone call to a board member at St. Pat’s I mentioned I had a fantastic talent who was eligible to play for Ireland.

“Within an hour, Under-17 manager Sean McCaffrey was on the phone and just ten minutes in to the game [against Airdrie United the following Saturday], Sean turned to me and said: ‘Bloody hell, we’ve just discovered the next Roy Keane here’.”

“The number of clubs who have contacted me about James is unbelievable,” Gray went on. “He has been down to Liverpool and Reading are seriously interested.

“But several Spanish sides, including Barcelona, have asked to be kept informed of his situation. There are a number of English clubs keeping tabs on his progress but for the moment he is enjoying playing in the SPL for Hamilton.

“James really is a wonderful talent. I know what the likes of Chelsea have and he is as good as anything down there.”