York City manager Martin Gray has admitted that teenage winger Vinnie Steels’ free transfer move to Premier League Burnley has left a “bitter taste” in his mouth, report The York Press.

The Clarets have swooped for Steels little more than a week before the left-winger was due to pen professional terms at Bootham Crescent on his 17th birthday. National League North rules dictate that players cannot be contracted full-time to clubs before that age, meaning the Turf Moor team were free to acquire Steels’ signature without shelling out a fee.

With the Minstermen having also withdrawn from the EPPP system due to funding issues, there is no longer any protection in place either for financial compensation when U17 players are lured away from the club.

Expressing his opinion on the nature of the move, Gray said: “Nobody’s more happier for Vinnie than me because he’s going to get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working in a Premier League environment to push his game on, which everybody wants when they start out as a footballer.

“But I’m very disappointed by the timing of it, and the way in which the deal has been manufactured was very poor on the parts of various people. That side of things could have been done a lot, lot better and it’s left a bitter taste in my mouth, because everybody knew what they were doing.”

Read more: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk

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