Published: 00:00, 07 December 2017
Ashford United are putting hat-trick hero Max Watters on a contract.
Watters’ treble against Thamesmead on Saturday fired the Nuts & Bolts to their first win for 10 weeks – a run stretching back 13 games to September.
The 18-year-old is a former England schoolboy and manager Jason Whitmore knows he’s got a future star on his hands.
“He’s a talented young lad,” Whitmore said. “He was one of my first signings. He was at Barking but not getting game time so I said I’d have a look at him.
“He’s a real class act and we’ll be lucky to keep him. I think he’ll go to someone further up the leagues.
“The way he runs with the ball is unbelievable. His turn of pace, it doesn’t matter who he comes up against, they can’t live with him when he’s running at them.
“He’s quiet and unassuming but he’s confident in his ability and getting better and better.
“I expect that level of performance every week. I know what he’s got in him and now he’s starting to get off the mark, he will produce, week in, week out.
“Max is going to be rewarded with a contract and he knows that – and the young goalkeeper Aaron Lee-Wharton, to prove we do believe in the youth.”
Putting Watters on contract means Ashford wouldn’t lose him for nothing down the line.
Whitmore said: “It’s about the time and effort you put in to progress them and it’s recognition for the club and that what they’re doing is right for the players.
“If it was something like an Alfie May situation and someone like Doncaster came in for him, that’s even better.
“The whole thing is great for the club and what we want to stand for, which is developing and progressing players.”
Whitmore said beating Thamesmead was a “massive relief” but he’s already looking ahead to Saturday’s game at Bostik South leaders Lewes.
He said: “We’re nowhere near the finished article but we’re moving in the right direction. I’m not scared of Lewes. We’re still one or two signings away from where we want to be and I want the team to gel together more."