Alan Stubbs today signalled his determination that Jason Cummings remains a Hibs player, telling the teenage hotshot Easter Road is the place to be.
As the Evening News revealed, the Capital club have rejected two offers from English Premier League outfit Swansea City, keen to add the striker to their growing band of emerging Scottish talent having already snapped up Hearts kid Adam King and Falkirk youngsters Jay Fulton and Stephen Kingsley.
As of yet, there has been no further offer from the Welsh side and that’s how Hibs head coach Stubbs wants it, insisting: “Of course we want to keep him, Jason is going to be an important member of the squad. He is a young boy who has ability. He is still very raw but I feel we can improve him and develop him as a player who is going to add great value not just to the team but the club.”
Cummings came from nowhere last season, joining Hibs from Hutchison Vale having gone back to the boys’ club after being released by Hearts following a serious knee injury. But he went on to score more than 30 goals for the under-20 side and force his way into the first-team squad.
And Stubbs, who was in charge of Everton’s Under-21 team before taking charge of the Capital outfit, believes he can help Cummings take the same steps towards stardom as Goodison Park youngsters Ross Barkley, Luke Garbutt and Seamus Coleman.
He said: “I think my background is one which will stand me in good stead working with someone like Jason. I have got a decent background in bringing players through into the first team. I’m lucky enough to have had a bit of success at that at Everton and I feel as if Jason will be in the best place to be to flourish here.”
Stubbs, of course, recognises that money talks but pointed to the pitfalls of young players moving south only to find themselves playing second or even third fiddle when they could be enjoying first-team football in Scotland.
He said: “Jason has the ingredients and possesses the raw potential and ability. I still think he needs to work on certain aspects of his game which we can improve.
“He has got to where he is purely on his own instinctive ability but he needs now to understand the game, when to run, where to run, where he is running, how he is going to occupy centre-backs, how he can affect defenders.
“He has to understand all these things that, hopefully, will make him a much better player.”
Meanwhile, Stubbs, who is still hoping to add his Everton assistant Andy Holden a coaching role at Hibs, revealed he won’t be offering former Wigan defender Adam Buxton or ex-Liverpool midfielder Nathan Burke contracts.
The pair each played for a half in the 4-0 defeat of Lowland League club Vale of Leithen in Hibs’ first public outing of the season but Stubbs said: “They didn’t do anything wrong, but not enough for me to want to give them a deal.”