Friday could be the biggest day to date in Leif Davis’ brief career. The Leeds youngster is surely in contention to start against Derby with Barry Douglas injured for the weekend’s FA Cup tie against QPR.
Davis probably sits just behind Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton in the pecking order of the most exciting prospects in Marcelo Bielsa’s squad right now.
The left-back looks to have Bielsa’s trust. The head coach seems confident that Davis will grow into the first-team role as well as Clarke and Shackleton have.
But if he does feature against Derby, he will be making only his third career appearance. It is a daunting prospect for a player that – completely understandably – has had a couple of shaky moments so far.
He took some time to settle into his debut against Aston Villa – in fairness, he only found out he was playing three minutes before kick-off – and gave a penalty away at QPR.
Davis’ coming of age performance?
Davis has the potential and quality to shine on the Elland Road stage this week. Ronaldo Vieira’s coming of age performance came against the Rams almost two years ago, and Davis could potentially target making the same impact this time around.
But if it is Davis that gets the nod, Bielsa should boost his chances of succeeding by selecting Liam Cooper alongside him.
Our captain is edging back to fitness. He played 65 minutes for the under-23s on Monday and seemed to come through the game unscathed.
With Kalvin Phillips suspended, Cooper being ready for Friday would be a huge boost. Not only has Cooper been missed in recent weeks, but he would also be the ideal player to play just inside Davis.
His calming influence could help Davis settle into the game straight away. And his pointers throughout the contest may be exactly what the 19-year-old needs.
Davis has the potential to be the star of the show as Vieira was two years ago. But having Cooper alongside him in the defence could be crucial to giving the teenager the platform to steal the spotlight.