Mark Gillespie of Youth Football Scotland casts his eye over Kilmarnock defender David Syme in the latest in our series on emerging SPFL talent.
With a growing reputation, Kilmarnock’s 18-year-old defender has come through the ranks at Rugby Park to become a regular with the first-team squad.
At the club since U11 level, Syme has gone on to become captain of the development squad this season and has featured in the last three of Kilmarnock’s first-team matches. He has clearly been earmarked as one for greater things by manager Gary Locke, signing a new professional contract with the club last summer.
Since committing his long-term future, Syme has continued to lead the development side, while being a regular in the first-team squad. Most recently, he started Killie’s Scottish Cup fourth-round win at St Johnstone last weekend.
Syme is regarded as a traditional, robust, natural defender - commanding in the air and with a strong positional sense. Primarily a centre-half, he can also be deployed on the right.
At the age of 17 he was already seen as able to step up to the physical demands of senior football, as he made his first-team debut away to Inverness in February 2015.
In April 2015, he started the home defeat to Motherwell and has featured in the first-team squad throughout the 2015/16 season.
As Killie continue to try and bring through the best of their young talent from the development squad, Syme looks set to add to his eight-first team appearance thus far and get the chance to establish himself in the first team.
It is a prospect which does not seem to daunt the teenager, who continues to demonstrate the required maturity and physicality to make the step up to regular first-team football.