Currie Star 17’s midfield maestro Daniel Jardine has been snapped up by Premier League promotion candidates Middlesbrough after a successful trial at the North East club.
It’s the latest chapter in quite a remarkable footballing journey for the 16-year-old who has already had experience playing in France, for not only Nice, but Monaco as well.
It could have been so very different for the youngster however, with a whole host of Scottish Clubs, including Hearts, Hibs, Rangers, St. Johnstone and Dundee United all showing a keen interest in signing him up.
He revealed the decision wasn’t a straightforward one.
“It was a difficult decision in the end. I feel that the facilities which were on offer were on another level though compared to elsewhere, as well as the players which I had the chance to play with,” he said.
“During my trial they impressed me with the standard of football that they were playing. It’s the level I want to be at.
“It’s a big jump going down to England away from home for me and it’ll be a big test. But it’s one I’
Since joining Currie Star in August, Jardine has had a huge impact on the West Edinburgh side, racking up goals and assists at a hefty rate so far this season.
Once again linking up with Coach Paul McGovern, who coached the Currie starlet at Hutchie Vale U5s for a number of years, Jardine emphasised the positive impact McGovern had in helping him get to where he is today.
“Paul is a great coach and someone who has been very influential on my development as a player. Since I’ve been at Currie Star he’s helped me progress and really given me confidence. He’s really well appreciated by the rest of the boys as well because he’s such a good coach and always gets the team motivated before games.”
With his family moving to France, Jardine was forced to take his footballing talent abroad and leave Hibs, where he had played for five years up to under 15 level. It wasn’t long before he was playing for Nice and then Monaco at youth level however, gaining invaluable experience in the 18 months his family lived in the South East of the country.
“It was a fantastic experience really. It was very technical, possession-based football, which is just what you expect from European football. It suited my style of play, I loved it to be honest.
“I feel like I’ve progressed a lot technically because of my experience over there,” he said.
Jardine also revealed of a chance encounter with former Rangers star Dado Prso who he played football with on the sands of the French Riviera along with Prso’s son Lorenzo.
Prso, who racked up 31 goals for the Championship outfit, lived in the same village in Nice, giving Jardine priceless advice and coaching during kickabout sessions on the beach, according to his Dad, Craig.
“Dado is a true professional who started in the French lower leagues, working hard all the way to scoring goals for Monaco in the Champions League. His love for the game is unbelievable and he taught Daniel the importance of working very hard,” said the 45 year old.
Given the interest taken in the 16 year old it is clear Daniel Jardine is a name to keep an eye out for in the future. He’s due to join up with his Middlesbrough U18 teammates just after the New Year, a side currently top of the pile in the Premier League U18 North Division.
At an academy which has seen the likes of Adam Johnson, Jonathan Woodgate and Scot James Morrison progress through the ranks, Jardine will be looking to add his name to the list of graduates in years to come.