Robbie Gotts joined League One side Lincoln City on loan in the summer, with his Leeds United spell at a crossroads. Now at 21 years of age, the player is at a critical stage in terms of his development and desperately needed first-team football – but obtaining that in a Leeds shirt was always unlikely.
Constantly included in the senior matchday squad by Marcelo Bielsa, Gotts only managed three senior outings for Leeds before leaving the Whites. While promotion to the Premier League was seen as a huge positive by many, Gotts may have been thinking on a personal level that it was only going to reduce his chances of senior game time.
At 21, playing football regularly is crucial to shaping and moulding both a career – and a reputation. Gotts made the brave decision to leave Leeds on loan in the summer, with Michael Appleton’s League One Lincoln winning the race to land the versatile midfielder for the 2020-21 campaign. Unsurprisingly, Gotts has made an eye-catching start to life with Lincoln.
Earning the man-of-the-match trophy in an EFL Trophy win over Manchester City’s Under-23 side earlier this month – largely thanks to Lincoln conducting an online poll which was hijacked by Leeds fans – Gotts has broken into the starting eleven at Lincoln. Against Jordan Stevens and Swindon Town, he helped Lincoln win 1-0 – being used at right-back last Tuesday.
On the weekend, he went one better. Despite a 2-0 FA Cup loss to Plymouth, Gotts earned a second MOTM award for his display – this time in midfield.
Gotts has enormous competition ahead of him at Elland Road. Mateusz Klich, Jamie Shackleton, Pablo Hernandez, Tyler Roberts and more sit above him in the midfield pecking order – while at right-back, Luke Ayling is easily first choice, while Stuart Dallas and even Cody Drameh would be considered first.
However, Gotts may just be showing Leeds that he is more than capable – and probably more deserving – of just the three senior Whites appearances he has got. Versatile, lung-busting stamina, speed and the willingness to learn – he would be ideal to keep as a squad player at Elland Road with a view to bringing into the senior side.
Certainly, that is the case – going off his appearances at Lincoln. With his contract ending in 2022, Gotts is saving his Leeds career by shining at Lincoln.