Gillingham’s youngster Jack Tucker is believed to be a target for Celtic and Rangers, but former Leeds man Noel Whelan has described his posisble move as being for ‘backup’ at the moment.
Gills manager Steve Evans told the Scottish Sun that the Old Firm pair (or Celtic and the new Rangers if you want to take the opinion of Hoops fans) have both scouted the 20-year-old during the current season. He’s made 28 League One appearances and has been a part of an impressive resurgence under former Rotherham boss Evans.
Whelan, speaking to Football Insider, believes Tucker would be a good signing, but with the caveat of not breaking into the side immediately.
“I think if you’re going to be chasing Celtic, you’ve got to have people that are ready to step in now with real quality,” said the former striker, who also played for Coventry and Boston United.
“You can’t be expecting a player to step up from Gillingham to go to playing European football. You’re going to need backups and he would be a backup – training with the first team, getting used to it all.
“He would be learning from the experienced players around him. I’m all for going and getting your gems and I think that’s fantastic. That’s how these lower league clubs survive, producing these one or two that are going to give you the money to keep them alive and going.”
Tucker has been the subject of significant interest this season. It’s believed that Championship side Brentford had a £1m bid rejected for the youngster during the January transfer window, with Premier League duo West Ham and Aston Villa also interested.
Tucker, who started his career with Whitstable Town before being snapped up by the Gills at the age of seven, has made just 35 appearances for League One side after making his debut against Portsmouth in October 2017. He caught the eye in West Ham’s recent cup tie with the Kent outfit and has since been falling onto the radar of scouts up and down the UK.
We said in February that we had seen Tucker in action first hand and that the biggest compliment we could give him is he didn’t look out of place amongst some very experienced defenders.
He’s a classy centre back for 20-years-old and when a player of his quality shines in a big cup tie, scouts will start to take note.
The current crisis means that clubs may need to sell to help balance the books, which is sadly a harsh reality of all football at this level. To have an asset like Tucker is a big boost for the Gills, who have improved under Evans.