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Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 12:05 UK

Gills boss tips Jack Payne to play in Premier League

Jack Payne (Gillingham FC)
Payne has received many plaudits so far this season.

Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler believes teenage midfielder Jack Payne is good enough to eventually play in the Premier League.

The 18-year-old has been praised for a number of top performances this season.

Hessenthaler told BBC Radio Kent: "I don't think he'd be out of place in the Championship right now at his age.

"He's got an old head on young shoulders the way he plays. If he keeps doing what he's doing then I can see him playing at the top level no doubt."

Hessenthaler continued: "He's a lad who wants to learn - he loves football, he's very level headed, he keeps his feet on the ground.

"It's what he wants to do play football - he's got no other interests - even young ladies, they're not even on the radar at the moment.

"Although I'm sure there's quite a few queuing up for him. I think the radar is football and football only."

Payne made his debut for the Gills against Chester City last October.

He signed his first professional contract in February, which will keep him at Priestfield until the summer of 2011 - much to the relief of Hessenthaler.

"I'm glad we've tied him up for quite a long term contract because I'm sure that if he keeps performing like that then there are going to be more and more scouts sitting in the stand watching him," Hessenthaler added



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