Michael Ball says Thierry Small’s behaviour is “disappointing” and he believes clubs should think twice about making a move for the Everton youngster after he refused to return for pre-season training.
The 16-year-old is looking to force through a move, potentially to Premier League rivals Manchester United or Arsenal, after failing to return to the Toffees’ training complex at Finch Farm.
Small became the club’s youngest-ever player when he made his Everton debut in the FA Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday earlier this year.
The left-back has been tipped for a bright future and the Merseyside club, who are currently in the United States on a pre-season tour under new boss Rafa Benitez, remain keen on tying him down to a first professional contract when he turns 17 next month.
But Small’s failure to return to training ahead of the new season getting underway suggests he wants to leave Goodison Park and Everton have reportedly rejected an approach from Real Madrid, who now have ex-Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti at the helm.
Ball, who featured for Everton during his playing career, believes potential suitors should take Small’s attitude into account before making a move.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Ball said: “It probably creates question marks for the clubs interested in him.
“They’ll be thinking about the attitude he’s got as a 16-year-old. He’s not turned up for pre-season, so they’ll be wondering does he have the right mentality we want to bring to our football club?
“I don’t think he’s doing himself justice. It’s a bit disappointing and disrespectful.”