Bolton Wanderers, Stoke City and Sunderland are all reportedly keeping tabs on Preston North End youngster Adam Barton.
The 19 year old midfielder made his debut for North End in a 3-2 home win over Scunthorpe United last April and has since become a key component of Darren Ferguson’s side.
Barton has also been making his mark at international level having previously featured for Northern Ireland’s U19 squad.
However, the youngster has turned down the opportunity to take a place in Nigel Worthington’s full squad for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifying double-header with Italy at Windsor Park and away to the Faroe Islands a few days later.
Instead deciding to keep an open mind about his international future and concentrate on his Club career.
The Blackburn-born youngster, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through the grandparent rule, admitted he was flattered by the call-up from Worthington but feels it would be more beneficial to him to remain focused on Preston where is establishing himself as a regular starter.
“International football is the pinnacle of every footballer’s career and when I got the Northern Ireland call-up I was over the moon,” said Barton.
“Nigel Worthington is a Manager I have a tremendous amount of respect for; he likes to play football the right way and it was thrilling to hear how keen he was for me to work with the Northern Ireland set-up.”
“It was all the more exciting to receive this news bearing in mind the fact that I have only played a limited number of first team fixtures for Preston North End.”
“However, it is for this reason that I have decided on this occasion to notify Nigel and the Northern Ireland team management that I will not be available for selection.”
“At this stage of my career I believe it would be beneficial to concentrate on my Club career and push towards my goals for Preston North End.”
“If at some point in the future I get selected to play for my country, at whatever level, it would obviously be something I would give great consideration to.”
The midfielder is also thought to be attracting the attention of England and the Republic of Ireland.