TONY Mowbray has issued a ‘hands off’ warning to Premier League clubs interested in the services of Academy star James Maddison.
The 18-year-old has caught the attention of several Premiership and Championship sides following a series of impressive performances in both the first team and the club’s under-21 side.
The Observer understands that no fewer than ten clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, have shown an interest in Maddison in recent months.
But Mowbray made it one of his top priorities after confirming his future to the club that the Sky Blues have no plans to sell their most prized young asset.
“The phone has rang once or twice but the message is loud and clear, we have no interest in selling James,” revealed Mowbray.
“Every footballer has his price. Look at the situation with Raheem Sterling, Manchester United sold Cristiano Ronaldo, Tottenham Hotspur sold Gareth Bale, are Coventry City going to sell James Maddison? I don’t think so.
“People obviously recognise talent, everybody does. We want James as part of our preparations and we want to keep him.
“He’s a young boy just getting on the ladder of his career, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.”
Maddison’s talent was there for all to see last season having made 18 appearances, most of which came from the bench, and scoring two goals including the winner at Crawley on the final day of the League One season.
Speaking to the Observer earlier this year, Maddison expressed his desire to play at the top level but wanted to achieve that with his home-town club Coventry.
And Mowbray has hinted the teenager will have a big part to play under his guidance next season.
He added: “If you’re talented enough, everything in professional football will come your way.
“Young footballers have to play, that’s been the message throughout my career, why move to somewhere where you’re not going to play. Bigger clubs collect assets, what’s the point in training and not playing on a Saturday?
“James needs to get his head down, show the public of Coventry what a talent he is and bide his time.
“In my mind, let’s get the season rolling, get him back in his boots and part of our build-up to produce the goods and enjoy his football.”