In among all the angst and uncertainty that seems to make up the entire public profile of Leeds United these days, there has been one ray of hope in the shape of a young Irish footballer of immense potential arriving at the club. Robbie McDaid, snapped up from Glenavon in an uncharacteristically sane and far-sighted move, looks to be a genuine striking prospect. The selling club has had the good sense to insert a clause entitling them to 10% of any sell-on fee – the sure sign that a player is expected to go far and rise high.
To be fair, this has the hallmark of McDermott the scout firmly stamped on it. The manager has previous for recruiting quality Irish talent from his Reading days, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that our Brian may well have unearthed another real diamond in McDaid. His manager at Glenavon, Gary Hamilton, says of his former charge:
It’s a fantastic deal, foremost for Robbie to give him the chance to go full-time.
“He was to sign on a YTS deal, but after he scored twice in an Under-17 game while on trial a few weeks ago they ripped that up and offered him a two year pro contract. I’m delighted for Robbie. He is a great lad. He has bags of skill, he can score goals, but his biggest quality is that he listens.
“It is rewarding when you have a young player getting a move like this. I thought he would have gone at the start of the season, but it has all gone through now.”
The fact that Leeds have been impressed enough to change tack so sharply, signing the lad on full pro terms instead of YTS, speaks volumes for the regard United have for their new acquisition. McDermott observed ““He’s a young player with great potential. I met him and his parents and he’s a lovely lad.”
Glenavon will also play United in July as part of the McDaid deal. Manager Hamilton is thrilled at the prospect of a meeting between the two clubs. “Leeds United are a massive club and have a huge support here,” said Gary, who played against Leeds in a friendly when with Glentoran. “It will be a great day for us and hopefully we can get a big turnout for it.”
No date has yet been set for the July friendly; doubtless it will be confirmed as part of Leeds United’s pre-season plans. McDaid is doubtless one for the future – but the future is where the real focus is now for United with the current season all but dead apart from pessimistic worries over getting dragged into the relegation fight. Thankfully, whatever parlous form Leeds are currently showing, we can rely upon the likes of Millwall, Barnsley, Yeovil and Charlton to be even worse. We’ll be back at this level next year – and who knows what kind of impact young Robbie might make in his new environment?
All Whites fans will wish him well. Welcome to Leeds United, Robbie McDaid.