Danny Mills has admitted he would be “very, very surprised” if Thierry Small was to quit Everton for Leeds United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Whites and England defender delivered his verdict after it was reported Leeds are among a number of Premier League clubs interested in the 16-year-old.
The Daily Express report Small is stalling over a professional deal at Goodison Park as he wants a clearer path to the first team.
Leeds, along with fellow Premier League sides Arsenal and Manchester United and Brighton and Leicester City, are said to be interested in Small.
The Frenchman made his first-team debut in the FA Cup earlier this season and Mills revealed to Football Insider Small lived with his son Stanley, who is also a member of the Everton academy.
But Mills admitted he cannot see him leaving the club before his senior career has even begun.
He told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “He’s strong, powerful, athletic with a left-foot.
“He’s 16, he’s got a lot left to learn in the game. He’s done very, very well to get to where he is but I’d be very, very surprised if he was to leave Everton at this stage.
“He’s a first-year scholar, he’s 16-years-old. He’s been at Everton a while and he’s still got a lot to learn.”
Lucas Digne and summer signing Niels Nkounkou are above Small in the left-back pecking order at Everton.
Digne suffered a serious injury earlier on in the season and both Ben Godfrey and Alex Iwobi filled in.