JUSTIN Merritt says Oxford City have ‘no complaints’ about their talented youngsters leaving for higher-division clubs.

George Harmon today completed his transfer to Scottish Premiership outfit Ross County, less than a week after Ewan Clark joined Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship.

Both players are believed to have been sold for five-figure sums, while City will get compensation for Zico Asare’s move to Vanarama National League side Maidenhead United.

READ MORE: Oxford City left back joins Scottish Premiership side

Co-owner and director of football Merritt admitted the fees are not ‘life-changing’, but pointed to the long-term benefits.

He said: “Every club wants to keep their best players, however we do realise there’s a pyramid in football.

“When we’re attracting young, ambitious players we’re doing that with a view of them doing well and us getting them in the shop window.

“When they move on we don’t have any complaints, providing they’re making a step up.”

He added: “Both players (Clark and Harmon) have sell-on fees, so the club are set to benefit from that.

“That’s where we see our model, it’s not the initial fee.

“These clubs are not paying huge amounts for a young, unproven player, but if they can realise some more of their potential in a professional setting their value increases.”

All three players joined City after spells at Football League academies, with Harmon joining West Bromwich Albion aged seven and progressing to the Under 23 side.

The 21-year-old racked up 42 appearances last season and Merritt knows the experience will serve him well.

He said: “Being exposed to men’s football in a tough league has certainly enhanced his game.

“He’s done very well for us, but the experience for him has been completely different to academy and Under 23 football.

“He’ll have had some good building blocks for his development.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to go onto the Scottish Premiership, if he can start getting game-time that’s an amazing outcome.

“We’re delighted for George, he’s a lad who warmed to the fans, he gave everything last season and chipped in with some vital goals.”

READ MORE: Oxford City rising star joins Bristol City

Clark joined City’s Velocity football and education programme after being released by Watford last March and was studying for a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport, alongside playing.

The 19-year-old thrived in his short time at Court Place Farm and Merritt paid tribute to the staff involved – including head coach Ross Jenkins.

“Ewan’s a talented player, he came to us having fallen out of love with football a little bit,” he said

“I think it’s testament to the people working on the programme.

“When Ewan first got involved in the first-team squad, Ross was leading the academy and constantly saying what a good player we’ve got here, making the way for him to train with the first team.

“(Former manager) David Oldfield was quite resistant at times, but he (Jenkins) managed to keep it going and really give Ewan the backing.

“When Ross and Andy (Ballard) took over it was natural to give him that opportunity and he’s flourished.”