Cobblers boss Chris Wilder has hailed the attitude and work ethic of in-demand striker Ivan Toney.
The 19-year-old has been the subject of intense transfer speculation over the past week, with Premier League giants Newcastle United keen to sign the player, who scored 10 goals for the Cobblers last season.
It has been confirmed talks have taken place between Northampton chairman David Cardoza and the Magpies, with national newspapers going as far as reporting the deal has already been done, with the fee being around £300,000.
Cardoza says that’s not the case, but has confirmed ‘discussions have taken place’, although no official bid has been made for the Sixfields youth product.
Due to the focus on the player, Toney was left out of last Sunday’s opening pre-season friendly at Sileby Rangers, but on Monday he travelled to Brighton for Town’s week-long training camp, and on Tuesday night played the opening 45 minutes of the 5-2 friendly win at Worthing.
And Wilder says he has been impressed with how the teenager has taken the week’s events in his stride.
“Ivan has been excellent, and he was excellent on Tuesday,” said the Cobblers boss.
“He works hard and just wants to play football, but I think it was the right decision to leave him out Sunday, and it was the right decision to play him at Worthing.
“His attitude has been great, and he went about the game on Tuesday in the right way. He was aggressive, and he had a good test up against an experienced centre-half who booted him up the air a few times.”
If nothing comes of the interest from Newcastle, Toney will be in the Cobblers squad for Saturday’s friendly at Burgess Hill, and Wilder is also confident the player will be able to handle any scenario that comes his way - including the move to the north east breaking down altogther.
Toney has already dealt with the disappointment of a big-money move to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers collapsing last November, and Wilder feels he would also handle not being signed by the Magpies.
Asked if it would have an adverse affect on the player if the Newcastle move did fall through, Wilder said: ““No. You go through life experiences, don’t you?
“We will only know if he has to get through it, but I’ve not seen any signs of it.
“Ivan is a learner, he takes things on board on and off the pitch.
“This is a situation off the pitch where he has to learn, and if it doesn’t happen with Newcastle, there is still going to be speculation and interest in him because he is definitely a talent.”