United boss David Moyes had chief scout Jim Lawlor watch Gauld in action for Scotland U21 last week.
Dubbed Baby Messi by his team-mates, Gauld characteristically played down comparisons with the Barcelona superstar in a television interview on Thursday.
"I don’t think anyone will ever be like Messi," he said. "The stuff he can do with a ball is a joke. I just wonder how he does the things he does. It goes through your head to try it and then you say: 'No, I’m not good enough'."
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