BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Nigel Adkins has spelled out that Charlton Athletic’s contract talks with highly-rated teenager Deji Elerewe will be kept under wraps.
The 18-year-old centre-back, from Croydon, has made five senior appearances for the Addicks this season.
Charlton director of football Steve Gallen recently confirmed they are in discussion over securing Elerewe on a professional contract. There have been claims that West Ham United are interested.
“Things go on privately behind closed doors which, in respect of contracts and conversations that go on, it’s important they are not done via the media,” Charlton boss Nigel Adkins told the South London Press.
“Steve Gallen and Ged Roddy, our director of football and technical director, along with the owner Thomas Sandgaard, are involved in all the finances of signing players and contracts.
“All of the U23s trained with the first team in pre-season, because the squad was so small. It was a great opportunity to look at them all. He [Elerewe] first stood out when he played in pre-season.
“He played very well. The night before [his first match] I had a very good conversation with him. You could see his personality and attitude, he’s been brought up well by his parents. He’s very intelligent, got a good attitude and has attributes that will hopefully keep developing over the coming years.
“He’s been involved in the first-team matches. We’ve got to be mindful that he gets game time as well, as an example he played for the U23s on Monday against Derby. We’re very conscious of making sure we aid him with his development.
“There will be a lot of talk [speculation], obviously, a young player at the age of 17 who has been in the first team. I can name players across the country that get linked with other football clubs. As far as I’m concerned he trains very hard with the players and his energy is top drawer.”
Elerewe, speaking a couple of years ago, cited Joe Gomez as an inspiration. The Catford-raised defender came through the Charlton youth ranks before a £3.5million switch to Liverpool in 2015 at the age of 18.
“It shows there are ways to get to the Premier League from Charlton,” said Elerewe. “You have to work hard and apply yourself.
“In five years hopefully I will be in the Premier League or a high Championship team. I just want to keep improving.”
Adkins says that Corey Blackett-Taylor wants to stay at Charlton.
The 24-year-old winger has impressed in recent matches but only signed a short-term deal until January following his summer release by Tranmere.
“He’s doing well and he wants to be here,” said Adkins.
“When we talk about getting players up to levels of availability to play longer game time, he’s certainly now in a far better position.
“I know he’s very happy as well. We’ll let the powers that be progress that and he’ll keep working hard on the training ground.”
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