Levi Ives rejects Torquay United professional contract offer

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Levi Ives
Ives is currently a second-year scholar at the Torquay United academy

Torquay's Northern Ireland Under-19s left-back Levi Ives has rejected the offer of a professional deal.

The 17-year-old, who made his senior debut last month in the is under a youth contract at Plainmoor until the summer.

"I spoke to his dad and he says he doesn't want his son to rush," manager Chris Hargreaves told BBC Sport.

"We're just trying to reward him for his hard work. There is no pressure from us."

Hargreaves, feels the player will gain more by being a full-time professional than being part of the academy.

"I would like him as a young professional with us, at the moment he's a youth-team player and there is a difference," Hargreaves added.

"You almost don't want to say no to the youth-team coaches because they want him for their games, but I want him with us every day."

Should Ives leave the club, Torquay would still get a payment under the Elite Player Performance Plan rules, but that would not be as much as if he were to be a full-time professional at the club.

Hargreaves continued: "We'd get more if he were under contract, but if he doesn't sign, he doesn't sign, I'm not going to cry about it.

"The club will be looked after in whatever scenario, but I think he would be better getting a move playing for Torquay than playing for Northern Ireland.

"People watching him in our first team can have a better understanding of how he will do than the Under-19s at Northern Ireland.

"I love that he plays for Northern Ireland, but on the basis of what's harder, playing for us is harder."

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