Gauld has marked his 18th birthday by extending his contract for a further year until May 2017 - Scottish Football Association rules had previously prevented him from signing for longer.
The midfield playmaker has been linked with potential moves to some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Manchester United and Real Madrid. "We are trying to build something special here and securing Ryan on a longer deal signals our desire to achieve this," said McNamara.
"He is a fantastic talent who appreciates that Dundee United is the best place for him to develop at this time.
"Dundee United fans will be delighted at this news."