Leeds United have posted a compilation of highlights on their official website from Thursday’s training session ahead of next week’s Premier League clash against Newcastle United – and five new faces were included from Mark Jackson’s Under-23 side, but which one stands the biggest chance of breaking into the senior side?
Marcelo Bielsa is renowned for his faith in youth and has accelerated the careers of numerous Leeds academy stars since arriving at Elland Road – including Jamie Shackleton, Leif Davis, Jack Clarke, Jordan Stevens and more. Now, five more Under-23 players were spotted in the training video – in the form of Joe Gelhardt, Stuart McKinstry, Crysencio Summerville, Liam McCarron and Cody Drameh.
Here they are rate from fifth (least likely) to first (most likely) when it comes to a potential senior debut.
5 – Liam McCarron
The 19-year-old, signed from Carlisle, has only played four times for the club’s Under-23 side this season under Mark Jackson – three of which have come in Premier League 2. But his brace in the 4-3 defeat Newcastle will have caught the eye, and the winger certainly deserves his place in first-team training. Does he see a first-team debut on the horizon? Unlikely.
4 – Stuart McKinstry
Slightly more of a regular that McCarron, the former Motherwell man has been a regular in the Under-23 side – playing nine PL2 matches and both EFL Trophy defeats. Still only 18, McKinstry might have more of a chance given he is younger than McCarron – but the depth of wingers at Leeds is a huge one, with Jack Harrison and Raphinha backed up by Ian Poveda, Helder Costa and more. He is improving, though.
3 – Joe Gelhardt
Signed from Wigan in the summer with the Latics suffering financially, 18-year-old Gelhardt has done well in his nine PL2 outings – scoring five goals. Playing up front or in attacking midfield, his aggression combined with his skill is certainly eye-catching – and unsurprising he has been likened to Wayne Rooney. Sam Greenwood got his debut against Crawley, and Gelhardt will not surely have to wait much longer.
2 – Cody Drameh
The defender, signed from Fulham in the summer, is arguably one of the best and most-consistent performers in the Leeds team at the moment. What benefits Drameh – who has played 13 times in PL2 this season – is that Leeds currently lack cover for Luke Ayling, other than Shackleton and Stuart Dallas who are better elsewhere. He has a real chance of breaking into the senior side sooner rather than later.
1 – Crysencio Summerville
Leeds fans are starting to become more and more switched on to the Under-23’s excellent form this season, but Summerville has had to tend with injuries. He has been in and out of the side, but he sparkled in the 4-1 win over Burnley this month – netting a hat-trick. What sets Summerville apart is that he has five Netherlands Under-19 caps, and has already played 40 times at senior level. He has a chance of a debut this season.