Alfie McCalmont must be wondering what has happened after being earmarked as one of the next big thing to break into the senior Leeds United side. McCalmont has returned to the Leeds U21 side, so what is next for the midfielder?
McCalmont, 22, was very highly-rated back in 2019 when he was handed his debut by Marcelo Bielsa. He came off the bench in a Carabao Cup win over Salford City – a game which included Kalvin Phillips, Eddie Nketiah and Ben White.
Little surprise then, that Leeds eased to victory – with two England World Cup stars, and two current Arsenal players in the team. But it was also the game in which McCalmont got his debut, his one of only two senior Leeds outings.
Instead of remaining at Leeds and fighting for his place, he chose to leave on loan and join Oldham. He starred at Oldham in League Two, having a hand in 15 goals from midfield during 2020-21. Next, a loan to Morecambe.
A division higher, but again he impressed despite the attacking output not being as high. However, following that loan, McCalmont has now remained at Leeds and he is back where he started. In Leeds United’s U21 side. So, what next?
What is next for Leeds midfielder McCalmont after U21 return
McCalmont will know he is both above U21 level, and too old for it. Indeed, when he plays for Michael Skubala’s side, he takes up one of the three spaces allowed for above-21 players. He has over 70 senior appearances under his belt.
Also, four senior caps with Northern Ireland – where he has impressed. Previous boss Ian Baraclough described McCalmont after his first start as a “little terrier”. So, what is next – given he is now back in the Leeds 21’s.
Well, McCalmont was on the bench for the first team in the Carabao Cup against Wolves – but was unused. He has been in first-team training under Jesse Marsch. But the chances of McCalmont breaking into the senior side is unlikely.
Especially, with Adam Forshaw close to a return. Stuart Dallas could be back on the pitch before the end of the year. Archie Gray is still only 16 and has seemingly overtaken McCalmont in Marsch’s thinking. Perhaps a move is needed.
Not just because he has been overtaken and left behind, but also because of his contractual situation. McCalmont’s deal ends in 2024 – and is about to enter the last 18 months of that deal. McCalmont needs to leave Leeds and play.