HULL CITY head coach Grant McCann may have only been working with his new charges for just over a week – but he has already seen enough of Jarrod Bowen to acknowledge that he is dealing with a ‘special talent.’
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The undoubted jewel in the Tigers’ crown is being put through his paces in pre-season by McCann at the club’s Cottingham training base, with his attitude and ability having quickly left a discernible impression upon him.
It is McCann’s hope that his working relationship with Bowen will last for a good while yet, although he is realistic enough to accept the name of the 22-year-old is likely to figure prominently on the shopping list of other clubs.
Bowen’s outstanding 22-goal haul last term will have marked the card of many, but one thing that McCann is also confident about is that the winger will not be distracted in the weeks ahead.
McCann said: “He is unreal. Just watching him doing his tests the other day and the way he trains and presents himself every day shows you that.
“He has always got a smile on his face and there are no airs or graces about him. He got 22 goals in the Championship last year and that is no mean feat.
“But he is a Hull City player and I am really looking forward to working with him.
“He is a special boy and special talent. Hopefully, I can add my stamp onto him and imprint that will take him further. That is what I am about.”
Hull’s two other star assets in Kamil Grosicki and Markus Henriksen have yet to return to pre-season after being given extra time off due to their international commitments with Poland and Norway, respectively.
McCann is also looking forward to working with the pair, while admitting that the club will look at contingencies in the event of both potentially leaving, along with Bowen.
In an ideal world, McCann would love the trio to stay in East Yorkshire.
“At this level of football and when people have good years, there is always interest. But honestly, it is like any football club,” added McCann.
“I saw it last year at Doncaster when there was in interest in John Marquis, Ben Whiteman or whoever it may be. It is going to be no different here.
“Obviously, with me working closely with Lee (Darnbrough – head of recruitment) and Ehab (Allam) and the chairman here at the football club, it is making sure if anything did happen, we have got a plan in place that is going to fall in right directly behind that.
“That is not me saying we want to sell anyone, we do not want to get rid of anyone. But it is about always having a plan in place if anything goes not the way we want it to.
“If it happens, it happens. If it does not, then brilliant. That is us – we do not want to lose anyone.”
On the incoming front, Hull have been linked with several players, including Peterborough United winger Marcus Maddison, young Celtic striker Ciaran Diver, ex-Ayr United forward Lawrence Shankland and former Doncaster loanees Herbie Kane and Mallik Wilks, whom McCann knows from his time at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Barnsley are also keen on Wilks, who is likely to be leaving Leeds United this summer.
McCann said: “We are close on a few.
“I have had two different sides of it. At Peterborough – in terms of a head coach, I had Barry Fry helping me and, at Doncaster, I probably took it on a bit more myself where I was dealing with the agents and contracts and things like that.
“It was not easy, but here it is great to have Lee to lend a hand to myself.
“He can take that wee bit of pressure off me in terms of negotiating contracts and things like that and that will help me focus more on the training ground that side of it.”