With his father Graham’s Middlesbrough debut coming six weeks after his 19th birthday, Calum Kavanagh still has some time to pass that milestone.
And, although being a close contact with Covid-19 has resulted in being included in the first team for the first time, his prowess with the club’s Under-23s means he is increasingly becomes difficult to ignore.
On Monday night, Calum – who turned 18 last September – scored his first hat-trick at that level, bringing his tally to seven from his last three games.
A loan move this month for a first time playing men’s football in the lower leagues looked more likely as Chris Wilder decided to keep him.
Whatever happens, Graham – who also now represents him – believes his son will keep his feet on the ground.
Kavanagh told SunSport: “I’m his father, I just want what’s best for him.
“Because I’m a footballer, I can show him the pitfalls.
“I talk to a lot of parents and they don’t really have a clue and I totally get that.
“But he knows all about the sacrifices you have to make, taking care of your diet and preparation, if you want to be successful.
“We’re lucky Calum doesn’t drink. He takes great care of himself.
“He’s a tough guy that probably comes from me and my wife.
“We don’t limit things to him, if he doesn’t do X, Y or Z, he will be told.
“And he saw the rigors of football. He was in the dressing room when I was coach of Carlisle United.
“Watching the frustration of players leaving, not getting new contracts, it probably helped him in some way.
“Sometimes you’re delivering a message in a slightly harsh way but that’s to prepare him for a tough environment without making the fools happy.”
MOVEMENT IN THE GAME
Kavanagh played at his peak for Boro and Wigan Athletic although his longest stints were between those games, at Stoke City and Cardiff City.
He has won 16 caps, most of them under Brian Kerr, but said: “I probably wanted it for him more than I ever wanted it for myself.
“It’s just a father’s love for his children. I was very nervous watching him. “
Calum started out as a midfielder like his father but he marked his first game at Team 11 or Under-12 level with a hat-trick and hasn’t looked back since.
Graham added: “I don’t know if he’s a born goalscorer but he has good feet and he’s always improving.
“From an early age, he had a good football brain.
LESSONS WITH ROBBIE KEANE
“We will use the tool that the club has given us to see the clips, through receiving the ball, moving, taking space, etc.
“We will talk all the time and he is still developing but when Robbie Keane was at the club he did a few training sessions with him which was really good in terms of mobility.
“I think that opened his eyes in regards to doing runs, going towards goal rather than into the channels.
“But he’s been scoring 20, 25, 28 every year. Last season, he moved from the Under-18s to the Under-23s.
“He has a lump in his groin, a cyst, as well as a double hernia and they are waiting to diagnose both so they can have surgery at the same time.
“He could be off for 12 to 14 weeks but he’s very fit right now, with 14 goals in 14 games.”
That has spurred interest from lower league clubs but a loan move now seems unlikely.
Kavanagh said: “A few League One and League Two clubs have already looked to put him on loan and it would be good for him to give him a try and come back in the summer without having to worry about losing money. not play football in the national league.
“Three weeks ago it looked like they were open to it but he has scored more goals and now they have turned it down.
“Last week he was in the starting XI that scored twice on Monday.
“But one of the boys on the bus had Covid so he couldn’t go from one bubble to another.
“He just needs the rubbing of the green, the biggest jump will be the first team but he has drive and determination.”
https://www.thesun.ie/sport/football/8228013/graham-kavanagh-son-calum-football-middlesbrough/ Graham Kavanagh believes son Calum has what it takes to succeed in football as he continues to thrive at Middlesbrough