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Kit Symons has admitted that he is using Patrick Roberts carefully as he seeks to protect the talented teenager from the Championship’s more cynical elements.

The mercurial winger has won sterling reviews for his fine performances in Fulham’s academy set up over the years and is beginning to turn heads in the senior side as well. Roberts have been linked with a number of Premier League sides but Symons, who managed him in the under-21 side before being promoted to first team boss, knows how best to nurture the wonderkid’s precocious gifts.

Roberts has made most of his 21 appearances from the substitutes’ bench so far this season and Symons revealed that remains a conscious choice.

“I think you’ve got to be mindful of where young players are physically and mentally. Pat’s very much still developing. You’ve got to protect and nurture these players in every way. Great talent and potential is nothing unless you can get it fulfilled, and we need to find a pathway for Pat to do that. Pat’s got a another year on his current contract after this I believe. But with all players we’re looking to bring on, we’ll look to tie up with contracts for sure.”