Michael Ball has criticised a talented teenager after he refused to report back for pre-season training at Everton.
Thierry Small made his senior debut for the Toffees earlier this year, becoming the club’s youngest-ever player in the FA Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
However, there will be fears the 16-year-old left-back is looking to force through a move after failing to head to Finch Farm during the first week of pre-season training under new boss Rafa Benitez.
Reports suggest Everton are preparing to offer the youngster a bumper first professional contract when he turns 17 next month.
However, it seems his head may already have been turned and he is keen to move away from Merseyside.
The Toffees have reportedly rejected an approach from Real Madrid, who now have former Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti in charge, while Premier League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal are looking to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding Small’s future.
Ex-Toffees left-back Ball is not impressed with the youngster’s attitude.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, he said: “I’m really disappointed with the way he’s gone about it. Everton brought him to the club, developed him and he was obviously happy with the contract he was offered at the time.
“He’s probably improved a lot quicker than he and the club thought.
“Staying away is disrespecting his team-mates and new manager. It’s going to be difficult for him to stay.”