MIDDLESBROUGH are determined to keep hold of star midfielder Hayden Hackney for as long as possible and while Premier League interest is inevitable if he continues to impress, the Teessider is in "no rush" to leave his hometown club.

Rav van den Berg is another young player who will no doubt be catching the eye of leading clubs after his hugely impressive start to life at the Riverside, but head of football Kieran Scott has stressed Boro's desire to keep their stars and the club's "fierce ambition" to win promotion to the Premier League.

Chuba Akpom left the Riverside last summer and Morgan Rogers moved on in the January window but both sales made sense from a business perspective, with Akpom having entered the final year of his contract and Boro making a huge profit on Rogers, who joined for £1m and left in a deal that could be worth as much as £16m just six months later.

Every player has a price but Boro don't want to get in to the habit of losing their star men. Hackney has been linked with a string of Premier League clubs since his breakthrough last season but Scott is confident the 21-year-old won't be the next to depart.

"You talk about ambition and wanting to get to the Premier League, you can't be losing players like Hayden," said Scott, in conversation with the Twe12thman podcast.

"He's one we want to keep, he's a Redcar boy, a local boy, he loves the club and wants to stay. I can't be naïve, if he continues to develop at the rate and outgrows us, it's inevitable clubs will come. I think we could have the same with Rav. They are two players who we need to catch up at times because we don't want to see them disappear.

"You get calls, people ask a lot of questions on our players, they get beaten back with an aggressive go away but at the same time they want to know what they're like as boys. We'd be naïve if we thought Hayden hadn't caught the eye of Premier League clubs, of course he has. I know Hayden is in no rush, he's a local boy who wants to play for Middlesbrough."


Scott admits "you never know what's around the corner", with Villa's push for Rogers coming as a surprise to Boro in the January window, but the primary focus on Teesside is on building and keeping a squad that is capable of winning promotion to the Premier League.

He said: "We don't want to just sell players but at times you have to do what's right for the club. There's still a fierce ambition to go up. When we attracted Michael (Carrick) to the job, he hasn't come here to just sit in mid-table."

Carrick's contract as Boro's head coach is currently due to expire at the end of next season and Scott revealed talks between the club and head coach have taken place.

He said: "That's private, it's between the club and Michael. There have been talks and they're still ongoing but I'll leave it at that. Conversations have been going on, we'll see where we get to."

Jonny Howson and Paddy McNair are both entering the final stages of their contracts, which are due to expire this summer, but Scott says no decisions on the pair have been made as yet.

"Me, Michael, the guys, everyone, we meet regularly to discuss the guys to make sure we're on the same page," he said.

"It's probably a bit too early at the minute to be honest. We have to let a bit more time pass and see where we are.

"Jonny is a hard player to ignore, we can all see what he brings to the club. He has been brilliant since I've been here."

Watch the full wide-ranging Twe12thman interview with Kieran Scott HERE.