Jun 17 2011 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
A HIGHLY rated 15-year-old has signed for Ayr United – despite interest from the Old Firm and the Premiership.
Mark Shankland, who trained with Liverpool for a week, is itching to make his name at Somerset Park.
The Academy starlet, who played the last 20 minutes in Ayr's final league game at Brechin, has signed a two year deal.
Mark, who hails from Mauchline, said: “I am delighted to be asked to sign. The Academy coaches are brilliant and the backroom staff have advised me about how I can progress at Ayr whereas I might fall into the cracks at a team the size of the Old Firm.
“They have also helped me gain entry to the Academy’s College course so I can continue my education as well as grow as a pro footballer.”
Chairman Lachlan Cameron added: “Mark has a bright future and we believe that to leave to play in England or the Old Firm at this stage would be the wrong move for him or any of our youngsters.
“We believe that we can offer young players a great opportunity to achieve first team football at an early age, an opportunity to show our fans and the football world their skills, helping them to progress to a potential career as a full time footballer as well as offer them the opportunity of continuing their education.
“It shows to all at the Academy and club that what we are doing is working, when a player of Mark’s ability and potential chooses Ayr to continue his development, over the relentless pursuit of the “biggest” clubs in Scotland.”